Senior Executive Women in the 1990s: Who Are They?

WHO is the typical senior executive woman of the '90s?

She is about 44, likely to be married, and earns about 66 percent of the family income. She is a college graduate and probably has a graduate degree in business or law.

The typical senior executive woman of the 1990s works about 56 hours a week, takes 14 days of vacation a year, and travels 33 days of the year on business. Her current title might be vice president or senior vice president. She earns around $187,000 in annual compensation (salary and bonus).

All this is according to the ``Decade of the Executive woman,'' a survey of senior executive women in the United States recently released by Korn/Ferry International, an executive recruiting firm based in Los Angeles, and the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.

The survey, which was conducted in 1992, is a follow-up to a similar survey conducted 10 years earlier, considered the first to look at the growing population of women executives in this country. About 2,000 women were sent the survey; the final sample analysis was comprised of 439 women executives from Fortune 2000 companies (1,000 largest industrials and 1,000 largest service companies). Organizers of the study cite the participants as part of an ``extraordinary group of pioneers.''

Here are some more of their findings:

* Salaries for senior executive women have risen from $92,000 in 1982 to $187,000 in 1992. A similar survey of predominantly male executives in 1989 showed total compensation to be $289,000.

* When asked to evaluate factors or traits that might enhance an executive's chances for success, 72 percent rated the ``ability to make decisions'' as being ``of greatest importance.''

* Like the respondents in the 1982 survey, few women executives in 1992 report having had a female mentor (15 percent); though 74 percent report having had a male mentor. About 66 percent said they currently serve as mentors to lower-level men, and about 88 percent said they serve as mentors to lower-level women.

* More than 96 percent feel that women are continuing to make progress in the business and professional arena, although 92 percent feel that a ``glass ceiling'' still exists for women.

* In 1992, 45 percent of the executives said they were able to spend an adequate amount of time with their spouses, versus 71 percent in 1982. Similarly, 42 percent of the executives in 1992 said they were able to spend an adequate amount of time with their children, versus 74 percent in 1982.

* When asked if companies would offer more options such as flex time to balance work and family obligations, 46 percent of the respondents said they ``agree'' and 35 percent said they ``strongly agree.''

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