Leadership Statistics: Demographics and Development in 2024

An organization’s success depends on the effectiveness of its leadership. Leaders are the ones entrusted with the task of providing the workforce with the support and resources necessary to up their performance, enhance their efficiency, and boost overall productivity.

While the general belief is that great leaders are born, leadership statistics say otherwise. Only 10% of people are natural leaders while the rest have to work their way up to the top, with the challenge being two-fold for aspiring female leaders. If you want to know what other hurdles ambitious leaders are facing, or what it takes to become an effective leader, take a look at our fascinating compilation of the latest statistics on the topic.

Top Leadership Statistics: Editor’s Choice

  • Black CEOs are at the steering wheel of only four Fortune 500 companies.
  • With a whopping 85% of the executive positions, white males dominate large and midsize companies.
  • In 2019, the percentage of women in senior management grew by 5%.
  • Less than 20% of startups aim to add female board members.
  • Nearly 80% of companies report there is a leadership development gap.
  • Almost 50% of businesses use leadership development programs to up-skill talent into leadership roles.
  • A staggering 71% do not trust their leaders’ capability to take their organization to the next level.
  • The corporate leadership training market is expected to reach $26.7 billion by 2024.

1. 43.8 is the median age of General & Operations managers.

As tradition would have it, men continue to be rulers in the universe of managerial positions and they even have several extra years compared to their female counterparts. On average, men occupying managerial positions are two and a half years older than women managers. Women in the workforce statistics indicate that the average age of female workers is 42.1.

2. Millennials expected to fill leadership gaps left by Baby Boomers.

Business leadership statistics reveal that 10,000 Baby Boomers, most of which are occupying managerial positions, reach the mandatory retirement age of 65 every day.

This means that in the upcoming years, the pressure will be on Gen Xers and millennials to take the reins and become the leaders of the future. At present, there are two billion millennials worldwide and expectations are that in the US alone more than 11 million will be in managerial positions.

3. Millennials in leadership statistics reveal the average age of a millennial manager is between 25 and 29.

A solid 53% of men and 55% of women claim they became managers before the age of 30, indicating that millennials are already taking over leadership positions across the globe. Numbers further confirm that the managers of this generation are usually between 25 and 29, causing the average age of CEOs in some industries to note a drop from 40 to only 22.

4. Young people, according to statistics on effective leadership, are less likely to believe women are as capable leaders as men.

Believe it or not, younger generations show less progressive thinking. According to a recent online poll, 72% of people aged 18 to 34 from G7 countries believe women and men are equally competent leaders. The percentage is solid but the surprise is that older generations (the 55-66 age group, for example) show much higher optimism with 76% believing men and women can be equally capable leaders.

5. Black CEOs are at the steering wheel of only four Fortune 500 companies.

Only 3% of Fortune 500 companies share their diversity reports. Statistics on leadership diversity further reveal that 60% of Black executives say they have to work twice as much as their white colleagues to be seen as equal to them. The situation with Black female leaders is even more concerning given how at present not a single Black woman is in charge of a Fortune 500 company.

6. Only 3% of executives are Hispanic/Latino.

Unfortunately, Latino leadership statistics only get better by looking downwards at the corporate ladder. In fact, they reach the highest, 10 percentage points, at the support staff and operations level.

Mercer’s global report shows 4% of Latino employees occupy senior management roles, 6% work as managers, while 7% assume the role of professionals within their organization. The report was conducted on seven million employees from more than 26 industries across 54 countries.

7. Compared to Asians, whites are 154% more likely to hold an executive position.

Some of the less known facts about leadership concern Asians and how cultural stereotypes portray them as humble and even submissive — qualities that often threaten their aspirations to senior job positions.

The result is that they are often disproportionately held back from leadership roles. Data indicates that Asian Americans account for only 27% of US professionals, with the percentage being significantly lower among executives.

8. With a whopping 85% of the executive positions, white males dominate large and midsize companies.

Almost every ninth executive is a white male which begs the question — do any white males participate in the labor force? This percentage, as diversity in the workplace statistics indicate, is fairly low at 38%, meaning 72% of the labor force is composed of men and women from different minorities, including white women.

Women in Leadership Statistics: Appearance vs. Reality

9. In 2019, the percentage of women in senior management grew by 5%.

It appears 2019 was a record-breaking year, with the participation of women in senior management roles reaching an unprecedented 29%, although compared to 2018 it’s only higher by 5%. Nevertheless, it is a major success for women worldwide because it marks the first time that one in four women operated as a leader. However, the pace of progress in this area continues to be slow given that it has noted only 10% growth since 2014 when Grant Thorton’s first report on the matter was published.

10. Women in leadership stats indicate Africa is the region with the highest percentage (38%) of female senior managers.

Believe it or not, with nearly 40% representation, female business leaders in the African region have made the greatest progress in reaching gender parity. Eastern Europe ranks second with 35%, Latin America is third with 33%, and the EU with 30% comes in fourth. North America and the Asia Pacific follow with 29 and 27 percent, respectively.

Leadership Statistics Chart: Percentage of Female Senior Managers by Region

11. 17.1% of C-level jobs Down Under are occupied by women.

According to leadership statistics, Australia has not seen any significant progress in senior management and leadership roles in the past six years. This lack of progress is particularly evident in the position of Chair of Board which practically holds the same influence as CEO, where only 14.1% are women. The percentage of women board members, on the other hand, is higher at 29.3% with female managers in Aussieland being represented by 36.7%.

12. With 53% of female managers, Latvia is showing the EU the road to gender parity.

The latest women in leadership roles statistics point to Latvia as the country with the highest number of women in managerial positions, followed by Bulgaria (49%) and Poland (48%). Female board members in publicly listed companies are represented the most in France and Sweden with 45% and 38%, respectively. EU data on business leadership roles mention that less than a fifth (18%) of senior executives are women, an area in which Romania (34%), Estonia (33%), and Lithuania (30%) seem to be doing quite well.

Percentage of Women in Managerial Positions in the EU

13. As of October 2019, only eight FTSE 250 companies were managed by women.

Percentage-wise, this amounts to 3.2% which is fairly low. But according to leadership statistics, UK FTSE companies are appointing more and more women in senior leadership roles with the number of female board members reaching 582 (29.6%) and a high percentage of non-executive female directors standing at 35. Another positive trend revealed by human resources stats is that 63.3% of UK women hold positions as HR directors, dominating the sector.

14. Women in Canada assume less than 10% of C-level executive roles.

And the situation gets worse — recent women in leadership stats and numbers point to a significant drop from 53 female executive officers among Canada’s top traded corporations in 2019 to only 43 in 2020, indicating that for whatever reason, progress has turned into regress.

In the C-suite, which is the ultimate goal for any business leader, only 12 of Canada’s female leaders operate as CFOs. On the bright side, Canadian women fill more than a third (35.3%) of all managerial positions which, as an overall result, is not that bad.

15. Leadership facts about the US say the number of women leading Fortune 500 companies has reached a historic record of 37.

This is good but not great news as all of these women only make up 7.4% of the C-level roles and most importantly, all are white. Although there is major progress from 20 years ago when only two women were at the helm of Fortune 500 companies, still, the jump from 2018 when 24 women were running some of the most prosperous US companies, remains insignificant.

16. 59% of Canadians feel comfortable with female leaders.

We cannot discuss statistics on women in leadership roles without mentioning politics. Even though Canadians have so far seen only one female leader, it seems they are the most progressive in this matter with nearly 60% stating they’d have no problem if their country were run by a woman.

Americans come in second with 54%. Surprisingly, although German politics have been in the hands of Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2005, only 31% of Germans feel comfortable about female leadership.

17. Less than 20% of startups aim to add female board members.

Women in leadership statistics provide some interesting revelations about startups and gender-based hiring goals. Namely, even though almost one-third of startups (28%) have been founded by a woman, and most of these companies have females leading their HR and marketing departments, only 59% of startups have incorporated programs to lift the number of women in leadership positions. Sadly, only 7% of startups have similar goals for C-level positions.

18. Every fourth senior-level woman is currently mentoring or sponsoring a woman of color.

The latest statistics on women in leadership roles mention senior-level women are more likely to embrace employee-friendly policies and programs than their male counterparts. These women are also more likely to champion gender and racial diversity in the workplace with currently 38% of them mentoring a female colleague. This compares to 23% of men who have taken such actions.

19. The COVID-19 crisis poses a threat to female business leaders.

Given that the most recent leadership facts and figures point to 50% higher profits in companies when women are well represented at the top, this is an alarming trend. With the recent crisis and studies made on its effects on the workplace, more than 40% of senior-level women report feeling pressured to work more and nearly 60% say they feel exhausted. On the other hand, less than 30% of senior-level men reported the same.

20. Investors see female CFOs as less risky.

Leadership facts about women disclosed in S&P Global Market Intelligence’s latest study say that public companies run by female CEOs or CFOs are perceived as more secure by investors.

Over the course of 17 years, female CFOs have managed to generate combined gross profits of $1.8 trillion, outpacing their industry average. One female CFO generated almost $33 million more than the median gross profit of their sector indicating female business leaders have the potential to earn more than their counterparts.

Leadership Development Statistics

21. Nearly 80% of companies report a leadership development gap.

Even though Baby Boomers’ retirement is opening jobs, 91% of active workplace millennials declare they have no intention of staying in the company they currently are for longer than three years which opens a huge leadership development gap, concerns shared by 77% of companies. Another 84% fear this gap will persist in the next five years.

22. Only 5% of organizations have fully implemented leadership development programs at all levels.

Statistics on leadership development and the existing development gap are somewhat contradictory. Even though a total of 83% of organizations acknowledge the importance of enabling leadership development at all levels, and an additional 43% say their top priority is to close these gaps, only 5% have gone through the trouble of acting on it.

23. 42% of companies are short of a leadership competency framework to base their development programs.

One-third of organizations, according to leadership statistics, are having a hard time creating good development programs and they blame senior management for it. Another 22% say these programs cost too much while 25% claim they take too long. On a related note, the average duration of these leadership development programs is around eight months.

24. 63% of millennials believe they lack the leadership development they need to succeed.

Millennials in the workplace statistics indicate six out of 10 of the people in this age group feel businesses are failing to deliver the potential leaders of tomorrow with the development skills they need to succeed. This is bad news since they are the ones expected to fill in the leadership gap.

25. Leadership development statistics show that only 10% of CEOs trust the effects of such programs.

A recent survey of 500 executives indicates the majority of CEOs believe they are inefficiently spending valuable company resources on leadership development programs because barely one in 10 believes in them. This could be related to the fact that executives are too far up the ladder and do not directly feel the benefits L&D programs can bring to an organization or succession planning.

26. Almost 50% of businesses use leadership development programs to upskill talent into leadership roles.

Leadership facts and stats on how and why development programs are used by organizations highlight three main reasons. Just under half (49%) of companies rely on these programs to upskill or cross-skill leaders and thus encourage them to accelerate their growth and development. 31% of companies use them as a means of identifying potential leaders while 20% use them to build a solid succession pipeline.

27. Only 26% of managers believe they should focus on the growth and development of their employees.

The most universal of all facts and statistics about leadership is the one that all senior employees struggle with having to juggle between their everyday responsibilities, their teams, and other assignments. For 37% of managers, the greatest challenge and goal is to set the course of their team and make sure they follow it so the company can reach the goals set. The percentage of superiors who believe the growth and development of their employees should be their highest priority is low at 26%.

28. According to leadership stats, a staggering 71% do not trust their leaders’ capability to take their organization to the next level.

Although everyone is big on leadership development, the stats are devastating. Namely, less than 20% of organizations claim their programs are effective in building good leaders and only 18% render their leaders “very effective” at meeting their organization’s goals. But data gets worse as a little over 70% do not feel their leaders can help their organization transition into the future.

Leadership Training Statistics: Benefits, Effectiveness, and Styles

29. The corporate leadership training market is expected to reach $26.7 billion by 2024.

As a strategy to overcome the unfavorable employee and leader attrition statistics, organizations have decided to increase their spending on corporate leadership training which is expected to reach an incredible $26.7 billion between 2020 and 2024, with a yearly growth rate of 12.80%. It appears businesses have finally realized that it is more practical and cost-efficient to train their employees to become effective leaders rather than hire outsiders.

30. Leadership training boosts leader behavior by almost 30%.

Leadership training statistics show that employees who have undergone training to enhance their leadership skills exhibit 28% build-up in key leadership skills, 25% increase in learning techniques, and 20% improvement in job performance. What this means is that this type of training, in addition to focusing on leadership skills, helps employees improve their performance in the workplace.

31. Public sector managers who receive leadership training and executive coaching are 88% more productive.

The combination of training programs, according to leadership training statistics, can significantly improve the agility of managers in the public sector and how they cope with the changes introduced in the workplace. Recent research on the effects that leadership training and executive coaching have on public sector managers, showed a productivity boost by nearly 90% indicating the gains of such programs are more than satisfactory.

32. 58% of senior-level employees have not received any training.

One of the primary roles of managers is to be the bridge between the staff they were hired to manage and upper-level leadership. Unfortunately, statistics on leadership in the workplace reveal that only 58% of managers receive the necessary training to be effective in their role as both guides and mediators for their employees.

Employee engagement statistics further indicate 22% of these managers trust they have what it takes to create a unique environment where employees would feel engaged.

33. 75% of millennials believe new technology is the reason for making changes in leadership style.

Operating in a society that is largely dependent on digital tools and devices demands appropriate changes in leadership styles, stats from Deloitte’s recent survey of millennials reveal.

Three-quarters of millennials cite new technologies as the number one reason for making leadership style changes, another 66% believe these changes are necessary and will help keep pace with the everyday changes in the workplace, while 53% say the style must change to meet customers’ expectations.

34. One in four managers says leadership training influences business outcomes.

Whether it is a boost in employee retention, acquisition, engagement rates, or revenue, training and leadership style stats show both can have a great impact on the desired business outcome.

However, in today’s digital age, what renders any training of the kind successful is its capacity to prepare leaders to function as part of a team, leverage data analytics, and adopt learning or project management software. After all, innovating on traditional techniques such as project management has been shown to improve growth, productivity, and transformation by 9%.

The Bottom Line

There are many sides to leadership especially if we consider the impact it has on the workplace. If implemented accordingly, as these leadership statistics show, the gains of corporate training and development programs are endless. Whether it is used to develop a rich pipeline of talent, train future successors, minimize the gender gap, or foster diverse business environments, positive leadership practices nurture stewards of favorable outcomes.


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