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Women executives scarce at financial firms: analysis

All News 09:19 April 17, 2017

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Almost half of the 118,000-odd workforce at South Korea's financial firms are women, but there are only 22 female executive-level officers, a regulator's analysis showed Monday.

The Data Analysis, Retrieval and Transfer system (DART) service under the Financial Supervisory Service compared the gender makeup of the executive board at 20 financial firms that included top banks, insurance companies and securities firms. These companies employed 118,194 workers as of the end of last year, of which 47.7 percent, or 56,350, were women.

Despite the sizable number of female workforce, only 22 of them were in executive positions, including one woman who sat on the boards of two different companies, compared to 823 men. Those who have risen to the level were below vice presidents.

The analysis also showed 11 of the 20 surveyed companies did not have women executives.

There were three women CEOs among 97 at banks. At life insurance firms, five among 352 were women. For credit card firms, 10 out of 124 were females, including seven at Hyundai Card, which had 55 executives.

For securities companies, the ratio of women was four to 272.

Industry watchers say that many of the women end up suspending their careers to have and rear children. Even when they return to work, they are bypassed in promotions because of the break or become the first ones to be let go during restructuring or for early retirement, they say.

The same analysis showed that in banks, women on average stayed for fewer years than men. At KEB Hana Bank, women worked an average of 11.6 years compared to 16.7 years by men. At Woori Bank, women worked 14 years compared to men's 19.6 years. The difference was starkest at Kookmin Bank, where women worked an average of 11 years and men 21.1 years.

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