A quarter of non-executive directors at Australia’s top 200 companies are now women

Blackmores CEO Christine Holgate. Photo: supplied.

More women are taking a place at the board tables of Australia’s top 200 companies, but the pace of change in the corporate world is still slow.

A quarter (26%) of the non-executive directors are female, according to research by KPMG Australia for the ASX Education and Research Program.

At the smaller end of the listed market -– the ASX 500+ companies –- only 23% had any women on the board.

The KPMG report covers compliance with the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s diversity recommendations on disclosure of gender diversity in the boardroom, senior management and across the whole organisation.

Souce: KPMG

Key findings:

  • 99% of the top 200 companies establishing a diversity policy.
  • For the top 200 companies, overall, 22% of board members were female, an improvement of four percentage points since 2013. This covers both executive directors and non-executive directors.
  • The ASX 201-500 companies saw a 50% rise in the proportion of women on boards in the past two years, up from 10% in 2013 to 15% in 2015. ASX 500+ companies had just 6% women on boards in 2015.
  • Among the top 100 companies, the percentage of women in CEO and COO/deputy CEO roles has not changed in the past five years.

Ben Travers, KPMG people advisory partner, says the quality of disclosure has improved with most companies now having a diversity policy.

“It is to be expected that the proportion of women at senior executive level may take longer to emerge due to the lead-in time for initiatives such as sponsorship and mentoring programs,” he says.

“But the slow pace of change in female representation in these roles over the past four years highlights the need for companies to rethink their strategy.”

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