7 Feb 2020

Top companies need to step up diverse CE appointments

12:01 pm on 7 February 2020

New Zealand's top companies need to improve their efforts to promote women to top executive roles, the Institute of Directors says.

Shady image of a manager discussing business matters with his subordinates

Photo: 123RF

Figures out from the NZX stock exchange show women make up 29 percent of directors of the top 50 listed companies, with a target for this year of 30 percent.

But the proportion of women in chief executive or other senior corporate roles was well behind that.

Institute of Directors chief executive Kirsten Patterson said while the diversity of directors was tracking well there was still more work to do.

"Although there has been a significant increase in terms of the NZX Officers or management representatives, that has shifted 7.5 percent in the last 12 months, but much more work to do there," she said.

"Given that is a very important pipeline for directorial board appointments there's much more work that we can be doing to make sure that our executive teams are also diverse."

Patterson said diverse and inclusive companies performed better.

"Not only are our employees and consumers demanding it, but diverse organisations are better at retaining talent, they're critical for innovation ... they have fewer instances of fraud and it also strengthens their risk management."

She said diversity did not just include gender diversity.

"We also encourage organisations to take a much broader view of diversity to include age, ethnicity, LGBTQI, culture, disability, background and experience."

The figures show all the top 50 companies now have a diversity policy in place, up from 94 percent in 2018.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs