Fewer Women CEOs Were Appointed Last Year Than Any In The History Of This Study

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Just when it looked like the number of incoming women CEOs couldn't be worse, Canada and the U.S. stepped up to the plate.

Out of 87 incoming CEOs in both countries, only one of them was a woman last year, says a study released by Strategy&, a division of PwC, on Tuesday.

It's the third year in a row that the number of new female CEOs has fallen. And it's the worst result in the study's 16-year history.

women boardroom
This stock photo has more women in it than were hired as CEOs in Canada and the U.S. last year. (Photo: Monkey Business Images Ltd./Getty Images)

The study, which looked at the world's 2,500 biggest public companies, saw the proportion of new women CEOs fall from seven per cent in 2012 to four per cent in 2014.

Results weren't much more encouraging around the world. Fewer than three per cent of new CEOs were women in 2015, "the lowest percentage since 2011."

PwC found that women CEOs are hired from outside companies more often than male CEOs are. Fully 32 per cent of all outgoing and incoming female CEOs between 2004 and 2015 didn't come from within their companies, compared to 23 per cent of male CEOs.

"That women CEOs are more often hired from the outside may be an indication that companies have not been cultivating enough female senior executives in-house."

"That women CEOs are more often hired from the outside may be an indication that companies have not been cultivating enough female senior executives in-house," Strategy& advisor DeAnne Aguirre said in a prepared statement.

She added that women are likely "not being recognized within their own organization, and therefore they may be more likely to be attracted away."

But this isn't the only study to look at the gender makeup of corporate leadership.

Last year, non-profit organization Catalyst released a study showing that Canada sat in the middle among 20 countries when it came to gender parity in the boardroom in 2014.

canadian women boardroom

Women held a 20.8 per cent share of boardroom seats at Canadian stock index companies at that time.

That was more than the U.S. (19.2 per cent), but less than eight European countries including the U.K. (22.8 per cent), Belgium (23.4 per cent) and Finland (29.9 per cent).

Norway ranked highest with 35.5 per cent.

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