American Workers Give Female Executives Poor Ratings As Bosses


In its annual report of the Highest Rated CEOs of 2014, based on employee feedback gathered during the last year, just two women appear on Glassdoor’s list, and they don’t break into the top 30. The top 10 are all white men.

Sharen Turney, CEO of Victoria’s Secret, is ranked at number 35 with an 85 percent approval rating. The only other woman, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, ranks second to last (there are 51 on the list due to an error that originally left someone out) with a 79 percent rating, only beating GE’s Jeffrey R. Immelt.


Part of the problem is clearly that there are so few female CEOs to begin with. They make up less than 15 percent of executive officers at Fortune 500 companies and haven’t made any significant progress in four years. They face a tough climb getting to the top: they led just 3 percent of the companies that went public over the last 17 years, a key entry point to helming a company of their own, and they get just very little money to start companies, netting 13 percent of all venture capital funding last year. That may be because investors prefer to give their money to men, even when presented with the same pitch.

But women in leadership still have to grapple with the fact that many Americans, men and women included, would rather work for a man even if they make their way into leadership. Among those with a preference, workers prefer a male boss by 12 percentage points. The good news is that a growing number say they have no preference and the number who prefer a woman is up to 23, from just 5 percent in 1953. But in another poll, both women and men said they prefer a man as a senior Fortune 500 executive.

That ignores the vast array of research that shows that having more gender diversity boosts companies’ performance and that women leaders bring in better returns.

People of color fared a bit better on Glassdoor’s list. Four men of color make it into the top 50 — Joe Echevarria of Deliotte, Carlos A Rodriguez of ADP, Frank D’Souza of Cognizant, and Ken Chenault of American Express — with three in the top 25. This is impressive given that African-Americans make up just 1.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, Asians make up 1.8 percent, and Hispanics make up 1.6 percent.