When it comes to gender parity at the highest echelon of retail companies, it appears that the mark is being missed in the U.K.
As The Independent points out, a new study — the latest annual Retail CEO Tracker by recruitment firm Korn Ferry — shows that the number of female CEOs appointed to U.K. retailers fell by 40 percent in 2015, with only 15 percent of companies in the industry bringing on women as chief executives during the year, down from the 25 percent rate at which women were hired as retail CEOs in 2014 and even lower than the 2013 rate of 18 percent.
The Retail CEO Tracker points out that the Davies Report — a government-backed study by Lord Mervyn Davies, released annually since 2011, whose goal is to see women occupy at least a third of the boardroom positions at Britain's largest companies by 2020 — has been effective in improving gender diversity at non-executive levels, but based on the most recent data, there is still work to be done regarding executive positions.
Korn Ferry's research shows grocery as an area of retail in the U.K. that is particularly lacking in gender diversity at the executive levels, with no females holding a CEO position at any grocery retail company in the country.
Noting that, historically, female CEOs were most often found at fashion and luxury goods retailers, the Korn Ferry study sees a positive expansion in that regard, with only half of new female chief executive appointments occurring within those categories in 2015, with the other half occurring within additional retail categories, such as home goods and DIY.