Green shoots of change in Australian boardrooms

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In an increasingly complex environment post the global pandemic, boards are facing into new and interconnected landscapes.

There is the suite of digital trends, including AI, robotics and cyber security, more exacting customer expectations enabled by new digital fluencies, workforce transformations underpinned by hybrid ways of working, and the demand for reskilling and greater regulatory scrutiny. 

This new reality prompted the 30%+ Club Australia and Deloitte Australia to investigate whether boards are future fit to manage risks and seize opportunities.

Having interviewed board members, executive search firms and investors, they challenged boards to consider complementing the traditional skillsets of governance, law and finance through the additional appointment of directors with diverse professional expertise in digital, marketing/customer and human capital.

Read the full report to find out more about Australia’s progress toward diversity in business leadership and 30% Club Australia’s work here

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries


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French firm must do more to reach 40% female ExCo target

French companies are on the right path to meet the first step of the Rixain law requiring at least 30% women representation on executive committees, according to the 30% Club France Investor Group.


The 30% Club France Investor Group’s third annual report reveals SBF120 Executive Committees are nearing an average 30% women’s representation, an increase of 2.4% compared to 2022.

Yet, this average percentage reflects very disparate situations as the SBF120 is evenly split between companies with less than and above 30% female representation.

Nearly all the companies have targets and action plans in place, but these targets lack consistency in terms of scope and granularity.

Addressing these disparities is crucial, especially to meet the challenging second target of the Rixain Law (40% by 2030).
 
Read more in the full report here.

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

Gender gap widens across OECD to 13.5%

Pay gap

It will take over 50 years to close the gender pay gap across the OECD! That’s the finding of PwC‘s latest Women in Work report.

The average gender pay gap across the OECD stood at 13.5% in 2022, having widened from 13.2% in 2021.

Luxembourg tops the index with a gap of -0.2%. 

Australia demonstrated the best annual improvement, closing its gap by four percentage points to 9.9% and moving up to 10th place in the index.

The UK reported the largest slide of any OECD country, dropping from 13th place in on the index in 2021 to 17th in 2022 with a gap of 114.5%.

Read the full report here.

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries


Find out more

UK FTSE 100 reach 30% women on ExCos

Inclusion

The UK’s top 100 ranked companies have reached the critical mass of 30% women in executive committees for the first time.  

The FTSE Women Leaders Review has also confirmed women hold 35% of all leadership roles in FTSE 350 companies and 42% of board seats. 

However, despite much welcomed progress for female representation, there remains an absence of women leading the UK’s largest organisations. And almost half of all available appointments now need to go to a woman to meet the Review’s 40% Women in Leadership target by the end of 2025. 

Pavita Cooper, UK Chair of the 30% Club, said: “Organisations need to double down on efforts to accelerate the progression of women through the pipeline. CEOs and Chairs need to drive the focus on closing this gap, failing to do so is simply bad for business.”

Read the full report here

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

Australia’s top 20 companies hit 40% women on board

Australia stock

Australia’s top 20 ranked companies made history this quarter (Q2 2023) achieving an aggregate 40 per cent women on their boards.

This success reflects the long-term efforts of chairs, boards, regulators, investors, executive search firms and campaigns like the 30% Club Australia that have ensured continued stakeholder scrutiny of appointments to listed boards.

Of course, the aggregate figures do not tell the whole story. Across the 759 directorships currently held by women in the ASX 300, an overwhelming number are non-executive directors (685) while just 37 are executive or managing directors including CEOs, and only 37 are chairs.

Read the full report to find out more about Australia’s progress toward gender equality in business leadership and 30% Club Australia’s work here

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

Views: Invisible factors give rise to persistent workplace inequality

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts would not live up to their promise if we’re blind to the invisible factors that hold people back from fully participating in the economy, workplace and school. 

Yi-Ren Wang , Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Asia School of Business illustrates this in her op-ed, part of a series of thought leadership pieces, Equity, Equality & Prosperity, in collaboration with The Edge and the 30% Club Malaysia.

Read about it in The Edge ESG section here.

Gender balance almost achieved for ethnic minority directors

Diverse directors

Across the FTSE 350, the numbers of ethnic minority directors are currently balanced almost equally between men and women, with 48% being women (47% in the FTSE 100, 48% in the FTSE 250). 

The data emerged today from the latest update on the Parker Review – the business-led, UK government backed initiative that sets voluntary race equity targets for Britain PLC. 

The 30% Club is proud to support the Parker Review with our own targets for the FTSE 350 to have at least one ethnic minority director or member of the executive committee by the end of 2023 and for half of those newly created seats to go to women of colour.  

Today’s update also confirmed that 96 of the FTSE 100 had at least one ethnic minority director by the end of December 2022, up from 47% in 2016 and largely meeting the Parker Review’s initial target for Britain’s biggest companies. 

Of course, a single ethnic minority director is just the start of the change we need to see and so it was encouraging to see that half of those FTSE 100 companies actually had more than one ethnic minority director by the end of last year.

But as we have seen in the gender diversity space, there is still so much to be done if true equity is to be achieved.

It remains the case that the vast majority of ethnic minority directors occupy non-executive roles. In the FTSE 100, for example, while the data revealed ethnic minority directors now account for 18% of all directorships, just six ethnic minority directors held a chair position, only seven were CEOs and nine were CFOs.

However, there are many practical things company leaders can do to bring about change from collecting more and better data to taking part in reverse mentoring. 

For example, the 30% Club is helping organisations build on their commitment to race equity with our Leaders for Race Equity programme, run in partnership with the CBI’s Change the Race Ratio and Moving Ahead.

We match CEOs with ethnic minority executives from outside their organisations to learn from each other’s experiences and challenges while also attending working groups with their HR and D&I leads on topics ranging from data to AI to inform and improve corporate action on race equity.

 
We hope this initiative will help our CEO members deliver impactful leadership in race equity throughout their organisations to ensure a wide pipeline of diverse talent progressing and thriving right to the very top.
Parker Review stats
Leaders for Race Equity

The Parker Review has set new targets for December 2027:

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  • – Each FTSE 350 company will be asked to set a percentage target for senior management positions that will be occupied by ethnic minority executives in December 2027
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  • – 50 of the UK’s largest private companies have been set the target of having at least one ethnic minority director on the main board by December 2027. 
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  • – Each company will also be asked to set a target for the percentage of ethnic minority executives within its senior management team 

 

You can read more about the targets and access the rest of the Parker Review data by clicking the box below. 

 

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

Gender-balanced boards more likely to push for better company culture

What female directors prioritise

What diversity delivers

The 30% Club, in partnership with board advisory specialists Lintstock, has today issued new qualitative analysis based on the engagement of male and female directors in 100 FTSE board reviews in a report titled Evidencing the Contribution of Gender Balance to Board Effectiveness.  

The survey showcases the difference gender diversity makes to the running of corporate boards, with a significant finding that women are more likely than men to focus on emerging issues, notably company culture and employee development.

In addition, female directors were also more likely to offer criticism and recommendations for improvement on both their own performance and their business activities.

The past twenty years have irrevocably changed the way businesses think about board composition and the impact this has on decision-making, with a push for greater gender diversity at the forefront of this shift in perception.

Through examining the engagement of male and female directors in board reviews, this study illustrates how gender diversity contributes positively to board performance. The findings show that gender balance is no longer a question of fairness, but that of effectiveness.

 

 

Despite the increased focus on ethnic diversity, the analysis highlights there have yet to be any examples of boards truly grappling with diversity in its wider forms, with some mismatches occurring between diversity ambitions and boards’ actions.

By demonstrating the link between diversity and effective oversight, we hope that this study will renew the impetus of boards to go beyond the traditional candidate pool, to secure directors with a broader set of skills and backgrounds.

 

 

 

Other key findings…

 
  • – Female directors are more likely to identify the need for further board diversity in areas such as age, culture and social background

  • – Women are three times more likely to recommend greater ethnic diversity than their male colleagues

  • – Women engaged heavily on employee sentiment and culture and were over 50% more likely to serve as a designated non-executive director for engaging with the workforce – the most frequently adopted employee engagement mechanism
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  • – Women were 50% more inclined to raise ESG performance as an area for improvement.
What women want
Hanneke Smits

Hanneke Smits, global chair of the 30% Club and CEO of BNY Investment Management, said: “The findings further confirm that a more gender diverse group of board members will consider a greater variety of issues and ask a wider range of questions. Of particular importance in the report is the evidence that female board directors place a greater priority on hiring diverse teams and therefore increasing access to a broader pool of skills and experience.

 

“Against the backdrop of a challenging macro and geopolitical environment, it’s critical that companies harness the power of diverse talent at all levels of their organisation to succeed. At the 30% Club our focus is unwavering: diversity must remain on the board agenda and there is genuine progress to ensure current, and future, executive leadership teams better represent the society we live in.”

 

Neil Alderton, a partner at Lintstock, said: “Oversight of employees was becoming a headline concern for boards even before the upheaval of COVID-19 and findings from our study reveals that female board members are more than twice as likely as their male counterparts to identify the need to focus on people development and improving the diversity of the workforce.

 

“Better gender balance is not only a question of fairness – our findings show that it is also a matter of effectiveness. We see that diversity of gender contributes to diversity of thought around a number of board performance areas, broadening boards’ horizons and bolstering the support and challenge that directors are able to provide as a collective.”

 

30% Club Ireland launches 2023 scholarships

30% Club Ireland

The 30% Club Ireland, whose aim is to achieve better gender balance at all levels in Irish businesses, has announced two new development opportunities for women in business – a 2023 programme of 27 postgraduate and executive education scholarships and, in partnership with AIB, 30 access opportunities for women in SMEs on the IMI/30% Club cross-company mentoring programme.

The scholarship programme, which is delivered in partnership with key education providers, covers a range of executive education disciplines including prestigious MBA programmes and technical masters programmes in STEM, Healthcare, Public Policy and other specialist areas. 

First offered in 2015, the annual programme aims to raise participation rates for women in, and general awareness of, executive education and to provide financial support for women interested in executive education, who may be limited by funding concerns. 

 

Gillian Harford, Country Executive with the 30% Club commented: “International Women’s Day takes place on March 8th. But it is about more than celebrating just one day, it is about taking real and practical steps that will help to bring about more balanced investment in talent and career progression.

“Having offered just three scholarships in year one, we are delighted now to be offering 27 scholarships for 2023”, said Ms Harford. “In addition to providing great opportunities for talented women, the programme gives us, and our education partners, the opportunity to encourage more diversity in executive classrooms for greater learning outcomes.”

The scholarship programme is open to all women and is not restricted to 30% Club member company supporters.

In partnership with AIB, the 30% Club has also announced a new 3-year initiative that will provide sponsored access for 30 women from the SME sector to the IMI/30% Club Cross Company Mentoring programme.  The IMI/30% Club programme started in 2015 and brings together experienced leaders and mid-career high potential individuals for mentoring focused on both professional and personal development.

Scholarship

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

Investors given tool to boost gender equity in net zero race

The Women in Finance Climate Action Group has developed a framework to help financial institutions support women in the net zero transition and limit the negative impact of climate change on women.

The 30% Club is delighted to support the rollout of this first-of-its-kind framework specifically for private investors and the key role they play in financing net zero.

Integrating a gender lens into climate investments is important to value women as key stakeholders in solutions, to ensure not only a better path, a more ‘Just Transition’, but also a shorter one, unleashing the potential of women as changemakers, in finance and in who and what is being financed.

 

Women remain under-represented in climate finance

 

The Women in Finance Climate Group argues that whilst climate change disproportionately impacts women, women remain seriously under-represented in climate policy, climate decision-making and climate finance.

The Action Framework, created in collaboration with the Oliver Wyman Forum and 2X Global, is available to download here.

The Women in Finance Climate Action Group comprises women leaders from business, the public sector and civil society and includes Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF-UK and Sarah Breeden, Executive Director at the Bank of England.

 

Amanda Blanc, Aviva’s Group CEO, said: “Private capital is key to mobilising the trillions of dollars required over the next three decades to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. And yet the global private finance sector does not currently have the tools or incentives in place to evaluate and improve the impact of climate finance on gender equality.

“We need more data to measure the impact of specific climate investments or project financing on women and girls. We hope this Framework will give financial institutions what they need to begin to measure and deliver greater gender equality when taking action on net zero.”

Rupal Kantaria, Partner, Oliver Wyman Forum and head of climate for the 30% Club, added: “This first-of-its-kind Action Framework for investors embeds gender considerations into climate investment decisions. Both are critical for financing a faster and more just climate transition.”

 

 

 

Amanda Blanc and Rupal Kantaria

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries