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Which Insurance Companies are the Most Female-Friendly?

(AP Photo/POLFOTO, Krestine Havemann)
(AP Photo/POLFOTO, Krestine Havemann)

For the seventh year in a row MetLife Inc. has been included in the NAFE Top 50 Companies for Executive Women. And although MetLife may feel the most at home on the list due to its staying power, it was not the only insurance or financial services company that made the cut.

The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) is a trade association serving some 20,000 members nationwide with networking tools and solutions. NAFE is a division of Working Mother Media, which is owned by the Bonnier Corporation.

The application to be included on the list requires companies to answer over 250 questions on a range of topics from hiring and attrition to promotion rates and advancement programs. One aspect of the application process that is viewed as decisive to making the list is the number of women in the company at the upper echelon with profit-and-loss responsibility. A company must also have at least two women on their board of directors and a minimum of 500 employees in the U.S.

All told, eight insurance companies made the Top 50 list:

Two of these, Prudential and State Farm, were highlighted as being "Top 10" companies, whose conditions for women were among the best of the best.

In compiling its 2012 NAFE Top 50 Companies for Executive Women awards, the NAFE noted that its "Top 50" companies employ more than 3.6 million women among 16 industries at some 48,000 worksites worldwide. On average, women represent 53% of employees at NAFE Top 50 companies. 

At NAFE Top 50 companies, women comprise 23% of the board of directors, on average, compared to just 15% across the Fortune 500. But the NAFE notes that female CEO represetation among the top 50 is actually down in 2012, to 10% from 14% in 2011 and 2012. What's more, female CEO leadership across the Fortune 500 actually rose a bit in 2012, from 3% in 2010 and 2011 to 3.65 in 2012.

That said, NAFE Top 50 companies still have markedly better female executive representation overall. Some 22% of executive officers at NAFE Top 50 companies are women, compared to just 14% across the Fortune 500. In addition, women account for 19% of NAFE Top 50 executives who handle profit-and-loss responsibilities, and 23% of those who are responsible for divisions with revenues over $1 billion.

Despite all of this, however, it is clear that female representation at NAFE Top Companies dwindles as the levels of management get higher. Given that these are the companies that are considered the most female-friendly, the figures for companies outside the NAFE Top 50 would suggest an even more difficult road to top management for female employees.

Female Representation Across the NAFE Top 50 

  • 53% Female Employees
  • 44% Female Managers
  • 33% Female Senior Managers
  • 22% Female Executives
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