Study: Women Run Only 12% of Top Israeli Companies

Banking is most female-friendly sector, with women in 30% of top jobs; industry, technology at bottom of list

File photo: Women working at a high-tech park in Modi’in Ilit, September 9, 2005.
David Bachar

Only 12% of the top positions at companies traded on Israel’s leading Tel Aviv-125 Index are held by women, as of 2017, according to a study by Idit Cohen, head of executive compensation at Consulting BDO, released on behalf of International Women’s Day. Women hold 62 of these positions, while men have the remaining 461.

Women accounted for 20% of board members at TA-125 companies, and made up only 7% of all board chairs - a total of four women, versus 51 men. There were five female CEOs, compared to 98 men.

Banks had a relatively high percentage of women top managers, at 30%. Other sectors, however, were clearly male-led. In industrial companies, some 94% of executives were men, and in technology companies, the figure was 93%. These sectors did not have a single female CEO, and the only female chairwoman was one of the controlling shareholders.

At insurance companies, only 8% of executives are women, a sharp decline from the 14% figure from 2015.

The bank sector was the best-paying one for executive women. The 15 most senior women in the banking sector had an average salary of 2.6 million shekels a year, some 5% lower than the average salary for male executives in that field. The small salary gap apparently seems from the Executive Salaries Law, which limits executive salaries in that sector.

The sectors with the broadest pay gaps between men and women were, again, industry and technology, at 144% and 105%, accordingly. Male top executives earned 3.3 million shekels ($940,000) a year, versus women, who earned 1.6 million, on average. Thus, women make up a small percentage of top executives in these sectors, and those who do hold posts, earn significantly less than their male peers.

In addition, women serving as vice presidents for TA-125 companies earn on average 55% less than men in such positions. Female CEOs earn on average 39% less than male CEOs. Female legal advisers earn on average 28% less. The smallest gap was for VP-finance – women in this post earn only 13% less than their male compatriots.

The one exception was for companies with female board chairs. At these companies, female executives earned 31% more than men.

Women make up the majority in only one senior position - legal advisors, where they account for 56% of all people in these posts at TA-125 companies. They account for 40% of senior accountants. Women make up a small percentage of executives in all other positions.

Women were 10% of deputy CEOs, 17% of VPs, and 15% of VP-finance.

The percentage of female board members increased slightly, to 19%, up from 18% in 2015-2016, due to the Government Companies Law demanding appropriate representation for women at government companies, which pressured private-sector companies to follow suit.

Women made up 24% of board members at real estate and industrial companies; 23% at banks; 10% at financial services companies; 14% at technology companies and 15% at insurance companies.