Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity

There is some very interesting data in Thomson Reuters’ latest study ‘Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity’, tracking the progression of women on corporate boards around the world. The data shows that not only has the number of women on boards increased over the past five years, but that, on average, companies with mixed-gender boards had similar, or marginally better, performance when compared against a benchmark index. Companies with no women on their boards underperformed, on average, relative to gender-diverse boards. This data only reinforces the idea that gender equality in the workplace makes good investment and business sense.

The details? From 2008 to 2012 there has been slow but steady growth in the adoption of policies and processes to promote gender diversity. Recent progress is particularly significant in the Americas (largely North America and Canada), notably without legislation or quotas. Global trends indicate a gradual increase in the percentage of companies that have women on their boards, with 59% of companies reporting women board members, up from 56% in 2008. A further 17% of companies reported having a board consisting of 20% or more women (compared to 13% in 2008), and 45% reported boards of 10% or more women (compared to 39% in 2008).

From a regional perspective, EMEA has the most women on corporate boards followed closely by the Americas, whilst companies in the Asia Pacific region report having the least gender diverse boards. Sector trends indicate that companies within the technology, industrials and non-cyclical consumer goods and services sectors lead in having the most mixed boards, whilst healthcare companies have the least.

This is all hugely encouraging. There is clearly momentum, and with The 30% Club expanding globally, we hope to continue to be part of the dialogue – not just in the UK but all over the world!