Board diversity increases, but Kiwis lag behind

In a male dominated industry, how do female financial advisers fare?

Board diversity increases, but Kiwis lag behind
The New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) Gender Diversity Statistics report shows that female directors rose from 17 to 19% at listed companies, an increase from 13% in 2o13, the year the NZX diversity data was first reported.

Global Women chief executive Miranda Burdon said this was a positive sign that New Zealand was moving towards a tipping point, adding the increase in female directors highlighted the importance of diversity reporting.

But New Zealand is still lagging behind the UK, US, Australia and Canada in representation of women in board positions. International research shows that increased representation of women in senior roles improves shareholder returns, is good for business, and improves risk management.

The NZX data shows that:
  • Overall 19% of directors and officers on NZX Main Board were female in 2017 – this is up from 17% in 2016 and 13% in 2013
  • Larger companies are leading the way
  • The S&P/NZX50 rises to 27% female directors (14% for those outside the S&P/NZX 50) and 20% female officers (19% for those outside the S&P/NZX 50)
  • The S&P/NZX 10 Index rises to 32% female directors and 28% officers
    Energy and Healthcare are the two sectors that have over 25% female representation for both directors and officers
  • Over half of NZX Main Board issuers have a diversity policy – up from 44% in 2016
According to Global Women research, 10 women now have a seat at previously all-male boardroom tables in New Zealand, including at Tegel, a 56-year-old company.

Other previously all-male-led companies that gained female board members in 2017 include Moa breweries, Seeka, South Port New Zealand and Mainfreight.

Burdon says that while the public sector has achieved 40% female leadership, the private sector—while making progress—is still underperforming.

Thirty-two Kiwi companies—approximately one in five of all 164 NZX-listed companies— still lack any female thinking at the highest level (zero female board members).

“As a modern nation, we expect a vibrant business ecosystem that is prepared for a changing world. Shareholders in Kiwi businesses deserve that, too, and that means addressing this imbalance.”

“The NZX diversity report shows us that large NZ companies are leading the way by increasing gender diversity at board and executive team level,” Burdon continued.

“We challenge the 32 companies without any female board members to make 2018 the year they bring more women in to their boardrooms,” Burdon added.


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