29 Jan 2018

NZX reveals slow uptake on gender equality

11:19 am on 29 January 2018

Businesses still have a long way to go to bring about greater levels of diversity, according to industry experts.

A man and two women in business dress stand on a balcony in an office.

Fewer than one in five directors on NZX-listed companies is a woman. Photo: 123RF

Stock exchange operator NZX has released data on gender diversity for listed companies in 2017.

It shows male directors still outnumber women, with 81 percent men and 19 percent women, a slight improvement on the year before.

The bigger the company, the more likely it was to have women directors, with more than a quarter of the top 50 listed companies having female board members compared with 14 percent for companies outside the top 50.

Just over half of the listed companies have a diversity policy in place.

Institute of Directors' general manager Felicity Caird said the numbers were not encouraging.

"It does take time to achieve change, but we have had a lot of time ... it's concerning that the pipeline of senior managers - which also feeds those directors as well - is still hovering around 20 percent as well," she said.

Chief executive Miranda Burdon of advocacy group Global Women said some sectors were doing better than others, such as companies in energy and healthcare.

"There has been a number that have increased women on their boards this year ... it's a good start but a number of those only have one woman and we'd like to see more," she said.

NZX publishes the diversity figures twice a year and a growing number of investment companies and KiwiSaver providers have been pressing listed companies to bring about diversity plans for the coming years.

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