In previous research on the diversity of 100 French management committees, we revealed that 97.4% of the CEOs were white. Our results also showed that France did not stand out regarding gender diversity. Today we reveal the results of an analysis of diversity within the 50 largest French companies. This research also echoes the one we published on diversity in the 50 largest American companies.
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Statistics on the 603 members of the management committees of the 50 largest French companies
- 7% of the members are white
- 7% of the members are women
- 100% of CEOs are white
- only 8% of CEOs are women
- 1% of HR managers are of non-Caucasian ethnic origin
- 7% of CDOs/CTOs are of non-Caucasian ethnicity
- 3% of HR managers are women
- 7% of CFOs are men
- 1% of CTOs/CDOs are women
- only 2% are of North African origin
- only 2% are black (men and women combined)
- A problem of ethnic diversity in French management committees
- The most important positions monopolized by white people
- Gender diversity in management committees: the 30% threshold is not reached
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In this research, we set out to analyze gender and ethnic diversity in the management committees of the 50 largest French companies. We followed the same approach in terms of coding as described in our research on the United States.
Unlike in the United States, we had to solve a problem of redundancy in certain management committees. Indeed, some groups include companies that appear several times in the TOP50 and share the same managers. To avoid introducing bias, we did not treat these committees as duplicates or triplicates and replaced them with the companies that were ranked from the 51st position onwards.
The companies concerned by these replacements are the following:
- TotalEnergies Group companies
- ArcelorMittal Atlantique Et Lorraine” and “ArcelorMittal France
- Carfuel and Carrefour
- Airbus and Airbus Operations
- Stellantis and PSA Automobiles
In the end, we analyzed the profile of 603 people in 50 management committees.
A Problem of ethnic diversity in French management committees
The first thing that stands out is the little ethnic diversity in the management committees of the 50 largest French companies. This confirms the results we published on the first series of 100 companies in France.
Our results show that out of the 603 people analyzed, 565 are Caucasian (white): 422 men and 143 women. Therefore, the management committees of the 50 largest French companies are 93.7% white, much higher than what we calculated in the United States (76.1%).
Ethnic diversity at the top of companies is far from what we have observed in the US. The situation is particularly “visible” concerning the CEO position: 100% of CEOs are white. In this country, 22% of CEOs were non-white.
France, although a land of immigration, offers few opportunities to people of immigrant backgrounds. North Africans are only 12 (2%), and Asians 18 (3%). As for the black people (sub-Saharan Africa), it’s quite simple, and we found only 5, that is to say hardly 1,1%.
The most important positions monopolized by white people
The observation we have just made is particularly relevant to the four positions we have analyzed in detail in this research:
The table below shows the distribution, for each function, according to ethnic origin.
|Other ethnic backgrounds||0,0%||4,7%||9,1%||10,7%||6,6%|
The CFO function is almost as unequal as in the US. In the US, 92% of CFOs are white. In France, the proportion rises to 95.3%.
There is more diversity among HRDs since 9.1% are non-white (in the United States, the proportion is 16.3%).
As in the US, the CTO/CDO position offers the most opportunities to non-Caucasians (non-whites). A little more than 10% of the people in this position are of this origin. However, this is still much lower than in the US, where the percentage rises to 36.8%.
Gender diversity in management committees: the 30% threshold is not reached
Our first research of 100 large French companies (listed and unlisted) showed that the 30% threshold of women in management committees had already been reached. The situation is different for the 50 largest French companies, where the percentage of women is only 25.70%.
It should be remembered that France has legislated to reach the 30% threshold by 2026. This is the Rixain law on the feminization of management committees, which applies to listed companies only.
However, the situation depends strongly on the function. While women represent only 8% of CEOs, the percentage rises to 52.3% for human resources management. While this percentage is significantly lower than in the US (81.4%), the situation is surprisingly reversed for the CTO/CDO position. While women are only represented in the US at 23.7%, the percentage rises to 32.1% in France.
This research, which focuses on the 50 largest French companies, reveals several fundamental lessons:
- French society remains highly unequal in terms of access to management positions in the largest companies
- this inequality is expressed in particular through the little ethnic diversity: 100% of CEOs are white, and generally speaking, only 6.3% of the 603 people researched are of non-Caucasian origin (i.e., non-white)
- the management committees of the 50 largest French companies still do not reach the 30% threshold of women set by the Rixain law and to be reached by 2026
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