SEOUL, Mar. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — Slightly over 1 in 100 executives at South Korea’s top 30 conglomerates are women, data showed Wednesday, pointing to a high C-suite glass ceiling in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
As of end-September last year, 256 units of the leading business groups had 21 female directors, a mere 1.3 percent of the total 1,654, according to the data by corporate tracker CEO Score.
The number was up two from a year earlier but was dwarfed by figures in the United States and other advanced economies.
The world’s top 100 companies, selected by U.S. business magazine Fortune, had 293 female executives, accounting for 24.3 percent of the total 1,206.
South Korea’s high glass ceiling is seen as bucking the trend in America, Europe and other advanced nations. The European Union has advised companies to raise the ratio of female executives to up to 40 percent by 2020.
According to the data, top conglomerate Samsung Group had the largest number of female executives at five, including Lee Boo-jin, the Hotel Shilla CEO and daughter of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee.
SK, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, came next with four, followed by No. 5 business group Lotte with three and the second-largest conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group with two.
KT&G Corp., South Korea’s dominant tobacco company, recorded the highest female executive ratio of 12.5 percent (one out of eight), trailed by S-Oil with 9.1 percent and Mirae Asset with 3.6 percent.