• Female candidates for executive roles drop off during engagement efforts, but perform well during final interviews and placement
  • Self-selection out of roles isn't always about confidence
  • Improving the language of success can help combat bias

We know that women aren’t represented equally in the private equity-backed C-suite. But where is it that they’re getting lost along the way?

A recent comprehensive study conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) revealed that nearly 70% of all senior leadership teams are all-male and that women make up only 17.9% of all PE-backed positions worldwide. Private equity has a long way to go before the field achieves gender equality.

Recent FALCON data, unfortunately, mirrors the low rates of women in PE-backed finance. 12.5% of our screened candidates were women within the past three years. However, we’ve dug into our search-related data to investigate where women are falling behind in the executive search process. The next step is to figure out why — and how we can stop the drop-off.

The Drop-Off Point

Illustrates the percentage of candidates who make it to each stage who are female
FIG. A – Percent of Candidates Who are Female at Each Stage

According to a study of our candidate search process over the past two years, over 9,000 female candidates made it to the messaged stage of our process, meaning they were assessed as a viable candidate for a given executive search and were contacted about the potential position. A massive drop-off happens between the messaged and responded stages, meaning that women aren’t replying to attempts to engage them in the search process. The lowest percentage of ...