Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business
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men dominate in CSR jobs

January 2005

Two-thirds of company CSR executives are men. A review of 3564 Ethical Performance records of individuals with CSR managerial responsibilities in companies shows 67 per cent are male.

This is roughly in line with the gender breakdown for the occupation as a whole, in which 64 per cent are male, based on a total of some 9000 individuals worldwide whose work directly concerns CSR.

Women are best represented in NGOs, accounting for 44 per cent of those holding a CSR brief, and in universities and business schools (41 per cent). They are least well represented in investment, where only 27 per cent of CSR practitioners are female. This figure includes those working as SRI analysts.

Solitaire Townsend, one of the few women to head a CSR consultancy, London-based Futerra, and a pioneering member of the CSR Chicks network, an online forum for CSR practitioners, said she was not surprised by the findings. ‘They show that CSR just reflects the wider world, which is interesting, given the nature of CSR.’

Figures from the UK’s Equal Opportunities Commission show that around 70 per cent of managerial and senior positions in all activities are held by men. ‘You’d think CSR wouldn’t reflect other sectors, and that there would be a host of opportunities for women, not just because of its focus on diversity but because it’s a new field,’ said Townsend. ‘Yet it seems we’re the same as any other industry, especially at management level.’ Townsend said one reason may be that, in companies at least, senior executives have been drafted in from departments where men predominate.

‘Every time we try to recruit at our consultancy we get at least two-thirds women, but there are not that many from a senior level,’ she said. ‘In general when you think of the big names in CSR you have to go a long way down before you come to a woman. Primarily it’s driven by men at the senior levels, and that’s something the CSR community needs to face up to.’

The EP database, which has been compiled over six years, is a regularly updated record of individuals worldwide who hold the CSR brief within their organization, and is used for marketing purposes. Most occupy senior positions.

The analysis also shows that of CSR practitioners in companies, the largest proportion – about a quarter – work in corporate affairs, while considerable numbers are in communications and environmental departments (both 14 per cent). Only six per cent work in a stand-alone CSR department and the rest are based in public affairs, human resources and elsewhere.

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