Which is the Bigger Problem: Diversity in Hollywood or Corporate Diversity?

With #OscarsSoWhite and the uproar over a female Ghostbusters reboot, Hollywood is clearly still suffering from a bad reputation when it comes to representing diversity. Similarly, there have been many reports on the lack of diversity in America’s boardrooms, with the glass ceiling phenomena hindering women’s chances of making it to the top c-suite positions and the gender pay gap becoming a term we hear almost daily.

At Expert Market, we wanted to investigate just how deep the issue of diversity really goes and whether Hollywood or corporate America has the biggest problem.

The Method

In order to compare like-for-like we looked at the 100 most successful entities in both industries. We researched the directors of the top 100 grossing films of all time, as calculated by Box Office Mojo, and recorded the gender and ethnicity of the 117 directors on that list. We then conducted the same investigation on the 101 CEOs of the top 100 US companies, as noted in the Fortune 500.

The Results

In corporate america, we discovered that only 7 women are employed as CEOs within the Fortune 100 companies. The picture is only slightly worse in Hollywood, with women accounting for just 4 (3.4%) of the top grossing directors. Out of the 4 female directors, 2 are the Wachowski sisters, who publically identified as male at the time of their success with the Matrix Reloaded.

Gender Directors (117) CEOs (101)
Male 113 (96.6%) 94 (93.1%)
Female 4 (3.4%) 7 (6.9%)

The results did not improve when reviewing racial diversity. Of the 101 CEOs we observed, only 9 were not white, which accounts for less than 10%. When we compared this to the movie industry, we found that the results were not much better as there are currently only 13 non-white directors of the top 100 grossing films. These 100 movies have no black directors at all, just as no black directors have ever won best director at the Oscars and only 3 have ever been nominated.

Ethnicity Directors (117) CEOs (101)
White 104 (88.9%) 92 (91.1%)
Black 0 3 (2.9%)
Asian 8 (6.9%) 2 (2%)
Latino 5 (4.2%) 2 (2%)
Middle Eastern 0 2 (2%)

Arguably representation in Hollywood has been getting better, with films on this list such as Independence Day or Star Wars: The Force Awakens involving black protagonists and the Hunger Games and Twilight franchises being led by women. However, an overwhelming majority of the time it is still white males behind the camera telling these stories.

The same quasi representation is also apparent in corporate America, with women taking more prominent and high-powered roles each year, yet still finding themselves faced with the seemingly insurmountable glass ceiling. While these senior positions are a step in the right direction, our data shows that there is still an unseen force stopping professional women from occupying the most powerful seats in the business.

Even when minorities are given the opportunity to excel in high-level positions they often still have other issues to contend with, such as the race or gender pay gap. The pay gap has been reported in all levels of the corporate world, and the film industry has shown itself to be no better. High profile cases such as Jennifer Lawrence’s essay on the pay inequality between male and female actors have made this a public issue.

Check out the infographic below to see the full lack of diversity in Hollywood and corporate America:

diversity infographic
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