Half (49 per cent) of C-suite leaders at Fortune 500 companies are women (40 per cent) and people from historically under-represented ethnic and racial backgrounds (16 per cent), including nine in 10 (89 per cent) chief inclusion and diversity officers and a fifth (19 per cent) of chief operating officers, according to a new survey by consultancy Spencer Stuart.

It found on average, 59 per cent of C-suite leaders were appointed internally, with chief operating officers (80 per cent) most likely to be promoted from within, followed by chief executive officers (77 per cent).

Read: Report finds women hold a quarter of board seats in Canada

More than half of companies reported having a chief sustainability officer and/or chief inclusion and diversity officer (57 per cent and 59 per cent, respectively), representing increases of five per cent and two per cent, respectively, from 2022.

The report also found Fortune 500 CEOs had an average tenure 52 per cent longer than the C-suite average and COOs had the shortest average tenures, likely because the role is often meant to be a temporary development position for CEO aspirants.

Read: Sounding Board: How DEI enhances workplace safety, employee attraction, retention