Women hold 7% of senior positions in South Korea’s financial sector

Women made up just 7% of financial institution boards in South Korea, despite making up nearly half of the sector’s workforce, according to data submitted to a lawmaker on Wednesday.

The number of women in leadership positions at 444 financial institutions stood at 358, or 7.4% of the entire executive pool of 4,855 at the end of last year, according to data from the Service of financial monitoring submitted and distributed by the small progressive representative of the Justice Party. Jang Hye-yeong.

Meanwhile, out of a total of 168,813 employees in the sector, 81,451 were women, representing 48.2% of the workforce.

Women in brokerages held the fewest leadership positions, accounting for just 4.7% of the executive pool. Only 59 of the 1,311 executives in the securities industry were women.

The number of female executives in insurance and asset management companies is comparable to that of brokerage firms. Those in insurers accounted for 8.6% of the total executive pool, while the corresponding figure for asset managers was 8% over the same period.

Women executives accounted for 12.4% of board positions in commercial banks here, but Jang noted that the number is minimal considering that women make up more than half of bank staff. lenders. Of 67,359 employees under commercial lenders here, 35,568 were women at the end of 2020.

The data comes amid steps taken by the financial sector to embrace environmental, governance and social values ​​in line with President Moon Jae-in’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 coupled with the Green New initiative. Deal.

Despite their efforts, there is growing criticism that corporate goals lean excessively towards the “green” aspect of ESG values.

“Besides ESG management and investment values, building diversity within an organization is a great way to avoid groupthink, which is why local financial institutions should make efforts to achieve diversity. diversity in governance,” Jang said.

The reform of the Capital Market and Financial Investment Law, which is due to take effect in August 2022, stipulates that listed companies with assets or market capitalization worth 2 trillion won ($1.77 billion) or more will be prohibited from forming a non-mixed board of directors. of directors. Companies have reportedly rushed to meet the standards, but industry watchers have also criticized the law for not including several financial firms with assets of less than 2 trillion won.

By Jung Min-kyung ([email protected])

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