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Utah Ranked 3rd Worst In The Nation For Women In Managerial Positions

22 April 2014 One Comment

April 22, 2014

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton

Written by: Patricia Monsoor

Utah is the third worst state in the U.S. in terms of managerial jobs held by women, with women occupying just 31.8 percent of management jobs in the state compared to the national average of 38 percent.

The findings come from a recent “Center for American Progress” report cited in the latest research and policy brief written by Susan Madsen, professor of management at Utah Valley University, and her research assistants. Madsen, who earned her doctoral degree in education in work from the University of Minnesota, is the Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership and Ethics at UVU. The fourth of four briefs is entitled, “The Status of Women Leaders in Utah Business.”

Madsen’s study revealed that of the 228 Utah companies surveyed, only 11 (4.8 percent) have female chief executive officers, while a whopping 217 (95.2 percent) have male CEOs. This is nearly 10 percent below the national data.

Although many business leaders state that they have difficulty finding qualified women to serve in top leadership positions or on corporate boards, others make the argument that the absence of women has little to do with the a lack of capable women and more to do with women not being as visible or networked as effectively as men.

“It is definitely worth the time and effort for current CEOs and board chairs to consider more women to create diverse leadership teams as the business environment continues to become more globally competitive and tumultuous,” Madsen said. “Women leaders can help fill the void companies have for more creative and innovative business strategies.”

Corporate boards also are trending with the same disappointing statistics, revealing that just 5.4 percent of the companies studied had female board chairs. When looking at publicly traded Utah companies, that statistic fell to a mere 4 percent. In terms of females on public corporate boards, this study found that Utah has 9.2 percent, which is below the national average of 12.3 percent and well below the percentage of Fortune 500 company boards (16.9 percent). Madsen’s team also learned that 73 of the 137 Utah companies had no female board directors, while 30 had one, and 34 had two or more.

So how can Utah move the needle and be part of attracting, retaining and growing talent in ways that provide women more opportunities to succeed at all levels of the company including the board? Madsen has several suggestions:

  • Create a pipeline of women leaders through mentoring, coaching and training.
  • Encourage company leaders to become change agents for diversity.
  • Declare the key ingredient to good governance includes women on boards and in top company positions.
  • Consider at least one woman for every director opening — and, as a start, make sure a company has at least one female on the board. Expand the pool of potential directors by extending the search beyond current CEOs to other executive-level candidates.
  • Revisit recruiting practices to see if changes can be made to focus on, promote and retain women leaders for executive positions and boards.

“The potential for women to help grow Utah is staggering,” Madsen said. “Women need to be willing to step forward and, more importantly, business leaders should create inclusive cultures and provide career and leadership opportunities for all. The research is clear that it is just downright good for business!”


About the Woodbury School of Business

The Woodbury School of Business is the largest business school in the Utah System of Higher Education and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The WSB supports a variety of engaged learning projects and programs, including the Entrepreneurship Institute, in which students start their own businesses. The school is distinguished for its focus on student development, community engagement and innovative teaching. In addition to traditional undergraduate courses of study in disciplines ranging from accounting to marketing, the WSB offers an MBA program that accommodates the schedule of working professionals through evening and weekend classes.

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One Comment »

  • utahwoman said:

    It is a shame that there were no women candidates for senior vice president for academic affairs at UVU. This institution could be an example for others to follow.

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