47 Interesting Fortune 500 CEO Demographics

The Fortune 500 list of companies is a true measurement of success. They are the best of the best at what they are able to do and provide a lot of opportunities to the world. The CEOs of those Fortune 500 companies are also an interesting set of people and their demographics hold some surprising information.

There are just 6 African-American or Black CEOs that run a Fortune 500 company.

To say that the white male has a domination on the Fortune 500 list is an understatement. Not only do white males make up a large majority of the CEO demographics, but they are also the best compensated for the job that they are doing. Is such a lack of diversity in these demographics showing that the world really does have a racial and gender preference?

  • There are 22 women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, but 6% of the Fortune Top 50 companies are headed by women.
  • There are 8 CEOs of Asian decent who are on the Fortune 500 list.
  • The percentage of CEOs on the Fortune 500 list who are of Latino decent: 1.6%.
  • Women make up just 8% of the top earners on the Fortune 500 list.
  • No company on the Fortune 500 list has more than 3 women in a top paid executive position.
  • The wage gap for women at the top rungs of the Fortune 500 ladder: 18%.
  • 9 out of 10 women who serve on the board of a Fortune 500 company state that they’ve had to overcome an obstacle that was related to their gender in order to achieve success.

What is amazing about these facts about the CEO demographics of the Fortune 500 is just how dominant they are toward the white male. Women are traditionally more skilled and more successful when it comes to the areas of business that make up the Fortune 500 list, yet barely make up 5% of the total CEOs on the list. No minority makes up more than 10% of the Fortune 500 list in any aspect of it. Does this mean that white men are better at business and provide more overall commercial success? Maybe – but maybe not. White men are also the most inclined to treat business like a “good old boy’s club” and only hire family, friends, or close associates. Women and minorities, on the other hand, are more likely to reach out an olive branch to others.

Fortune 500 CEOs Are Active On The Internet

  • The percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs that have an active presence on at least one social network like Facebook or Twitter: 30%.
  • More Fortune 500 CEOs use LinkedIn as their primary social network of choice [47%] than Facebook [45%] or Google Plus [12%].
  • 81% of employees believe that Fortune 500 CEOs who are on a social network are more equipped to take a company into the modern world.
  • 82% of customers say that they are more likely to trust a company when the CEO and the company’s leadership are accessible and active on a social network.
  • Only 5% of people in a recent survey stated that they didn’t see any benefits to a social networking presence for a Fortune 500 CEO.
  • 1 out of every 2 people say that it is very important for Fortune 500 CEOs to engage on social media, but only 5% see it as a “mission critical” component of the job.
  • 78% of professionals say that they prefer to work for a Fortune 500 CEO who is active on social networking sites.

The best part about social media, like it or not, is that it makes the private lives of people a little more public. It also means that the average person has the chance to interact with their company’s leadership – something that the chain of command in the past may have not allowed. This has a few benefits, as the statistics show, but it also helps to build relationships. Those are incredibly important because when an employee feels like they have a relationship with the CEO of their company, then they are more likely to stay at their job for the long term. In a world where wages are static and people have to move jobs in order to make more money, that relationship has more value than one might initially perceive.

How Do You Become a Fortune 500 CEO?

  • 2 out of every 3 Fortune 500 CEOs were appointed to the position internally after having worked for the company for some period of time.
  • The average amount of years it takes for a Fortune 500 CEO to work up to the top leadership position: 12.8 years.
  • The average height of a Fortune 500 CEO is 6 feet.
  • The number of Fortune 500 CEOs who don’t have an advanced degree of any kind on their resume: 163.
  • The most common advanced degree that is held by CEOs today is a Masters of Business Administration.
  • Only 2% of CEOs make a salary that is over $3 million per year.
  • 1 out of every 2 Fortune 500 CEOs states that they are a Republican.
  • The percentage of CEOs who admitted that they were Democrats: 2%.

It’s been said that when you are starting out in your career, it makes sense to be a Democrat because you’ll have your way of life protected. As you advance in your career, it requires a transition to becoming a Republican so that you can continue to have your way of life protected. In looking at the demographics of the Fortune 500, it is easy to see how this point of view could take place. With white men, who typically vote Republican, leading the way in the best companies as a large majority, the politics of business definitely belong to the GOP. It brings up an important question: if even a fraction of the money that is spent on politics, say 2%, was actually spent on social needs like feeding the hungry, how much of the world could be changed in an instant?

How Smart Do You Need To Be To Become a Fortunate 500 CEO?

  • It is estimated that about 40% of the Fortune 500 CEOs have an IQ that is in the “talented and gifted” range, or an IQ that is about 128.
  • This would make the estimated average IQ of a Fortune 500 CEO to be 124.
  • The percentage of women who are Fortune 500 CEOs with an IQ of 128 or higher: 59%.
  • The average age of a CEO in one of the top Fortune companies: 57.
  • The top 4 schools where Fortune 500 CEOs attended for undergraduate studies are all Ivy League schools: Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, and Yale – in that order.
  • In the Fortune top 100 CEOs, there are 100 Bachelor’s degress that are held.
  • On average, there are just 6% of Fortune 500 CEOs year to year that have held some sort of military experience.

It takes intelligence to make billion dollar decisions, but isn’t it more impressive for a self-made millionaire or billionaire to achieve great success? After all, they didn’t have the support of a massive corporation in order to make their money. That’s why Walmart, which may be one of the biggest corporate heels in the world, still commands a lot of respect. As a family run organization for years that provided the Walton family with hundreds of billions, they have changed the lives of many with low prices and greater product accessibility. Have they also deflated wages in the communities where they have a presence? Some would say they have. Yet they are consistently on the top of the Fortune 500 list, showing that intelligence and strategy will win over popularity and political opinions in the current business climate.

Does It Pay To Be a Fortune 500 CEO?

  • In 2013, the CEO to minimum wage worker payment ration was 774:1. This means a CEO earns $774 for every $1 that a minimum wage worker earns.
  • When the average of all employees’ salaries are placed against the average CEO salary, the ratio becomes 334:1.
  • 50% of those who are making minimum wage are above the age of 25.
  • Women make up more than 50% of the total workers who are working at a minimum wage.
  • Tipped workers have it even worse, living in poverty at 3 times the rate of the average US workforce.
  • From 2009 to 2012, the top 1% of income earners in the United States captured 95% of the income gains that were achieved.

This really isn’t an “us vs them” type of conversation, but the demographics of pay can’t be ignored. CEOs do deserve to make higher wages because their experience, leadership, and education is worth something in the free market. On the other hand, the US has always been about providing fair wages for a day’s work. That was the whole purpose behind the minimum wage, yet the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation or productivity since its inception. When payment ratios are at 774:1, we are doing something wrong. Blaming the Fortune 500 CEOs for this inequality is too easy. There are ways that we can make changes as well. That might mean self-employment, a career change, or other changes, but accepting poverty wages only continues the problem. It doesn’t change anything.

Are Low Wages Happening Because of Misconduct?

  • For 4 years in a row, AFLAC has been named the most ethical company on the Fortune 500 list.
  • The percentage of employees who directly witnessed misconduct occurring in their workplace in the last 12 months: 52%.
  • Only 3 out of every 4 Fortune 500 employees states that they would report the misconduct when they saw it.
  • The most common form of misconduct seen was bribery, accounting for 70% of the total incidents that were reported at Fortune 500 companies.
  • Whistleblowers are more likely to experience retaliation at a Fortune 500 company than at a business that is not on the list.

When it comes to ethics, story after story that comes out of the Fortune 500 company list shows why people are right to question the ethics of the CEOs. A classic example of this is former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson in 2012. He decided to step down after 4 months on the job because his C/V had false information on it. His response to the inquiry? “I had a lower level manager create the document and my mistake was not reviewing the information first.” It’s this shiftiness that makes people not trust leadership. He may have ethically taken responsibility by stepping down from the job, but he shifted the blame for the situation to a lower level employee. If that happens at the top, then senior level managers are going to be more than willing to do the same thing. All of that filters downhill so that the main people who receive the consequences are the front line employees.

It Pays To Be Different

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook is the only openly gay CEO on the Fortune 500 list.
  • Only 4% of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 contribute to blogs, but have the highest levels of popularity in their company compared to those who don’t blog.
  • 1 out of 2 CEOs will purchase goods or services online.
  • If all CEOs are looked at, the University of Wisconsin-Madison would produce as many CEOs as Harvard.
  • Only 7% of Fortune 500 CEOs say that they are motivated by fear. The biggest motivator, according to them, is fear. 43% of them say the work in fear daily.

We like to focus on money, but the statistics in these demographics show that business leaders are motivated by the fear of losing their company, their reputation, and the jobs that they have helped to create more than anything else. Many of today’s Fortune 500 CEOs are working hard at creating better paying opportunities. The system became broken and wages have been static for a lot of workers for more than a decade, which is absolutely a problem. In the end, however, the CEO is just as scared as the front line worker of losing their job and not knowing what they’ll do next.

To Female Fortune CEOs