Women CFOs in 2024: Female Financial Executives in Europe

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Between 2020 and 2023, the turnover rate of CFOs in Europe reached 14% according to the latest market analysis in the Consultancy sector. Record-breaking data when compared to previous years, which highlights the persistent challenge associated with the gap between demand and supply of professionals in the Executive domain.

The increasing request for highly qualified resources to fill leadership roles such as Chief Financial Officer prompts companies to consider, on one hand, internal talent within the organization by retraining them appropriately and providing access to the position for the first time; on the other hand, the need to ensure robust management in an increasingly uncertain economy further fuels the hiring of external personnel with proven expertise, in some cases acquired over decades.

According to the data, this seems to be the case for Women CFOs. In 2023, 50% of Chief Financial Officers had previous experiences on the job, compared to 9% of externally hired Women CFOs who took on the role for the first time.

A growing number of women were appointed CFO in 2023, accounting for 19% of the total CFOs in Europe. This is encouraging progress, but still far from equality: although 25% of CFO appointments in 2023 were women, this represents a 12% decrease from the previous year.

A surprising result comes from Italy where, according to March 2023 Women in Business report, the number of women in senior leadership roles increased by +4% from 2022 to 2023, simultaneously reducing the percentage of companies without female representation in similar positions (-7%).

But what can we expect in the years to come? Studies reveal that a change in corporate culture could promote a greater influx of Women CFOs into organizations. Solutions such as flexible working arrangements and digitalization, for example, have already proven effective in various Eurozone countries, also enhancing corporate prestige and inclusion. Following current trends, senior management positions held by women could reach 34% in 2025 and 36.5% in 2030, according to estimates. However, it is up to People and local / international policies incentivizing change to improve these predictions.