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Companies Hiring More Female and Black CFOs

America’s largest companies employed more female and Black financial officers in 2021 than in any other year prior, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s happening: “The number of companies in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 with Black chief financial officers nearly doubled over the past year, to 20 in 2021 from 12 in 2020, based on new data from executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates. That’s 2.9% of 678 sitting CFOs, up from 1.8% in 2020. The percentage of female CFOs at those businesses also reached an all-time high at 15.1% in 2021, up from 12.6% in 2020, the data show.”

Who’s doing it: Firms that gained Black or female CFOs in 2021 include AT&T Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Eli Lilly & Co.

Building bridges: As boards become more diverse themselves, they are urging companies to diversify their C-suites. Some companies have also sought to bolster their diversity in response to calls for social justice.

  • Increased hiring of diverse C-suite executives is likely to pick up in the next 12 to 18 months, Josh Crist, co-managing partner at Crist Kolder, told the Journal.

Hiring from within: “Crist Kolder also found that companies have been hiring fewer external candidates for CFO roles. External candidates represented 38.5% of hirings in 2021, down from 43.1% in 2020 and 39.5% in 2019, according to the report.”

The MI says: “Diverse leadership leads to more innovation, increased competitiveness and more profitable outcomes,” said Manufacturing Institute Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Inclusion AJ Jorgensen. “The progress we are seeing from manufacturers is inspiring and reflects our commitment to close the opportunity gap. Still, manufacturers must carry forward this momentum to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities.”

Related: Has your company joined manufacturers’ Pledge for Action—to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities? Click here to learn more.

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