Today, Egon Zehnder released findings from its latest Global Board Diversity Analysis (GBDA). The executive advisory firm has analyzed data from 1,491 of the world’s largest companies across 44 countries; the report spotlights gender and international diversity data, and presents a global view of the future board diversity pipeline by examining CEO and CFO numbers worldwide. We invite you to experience the findings using Egon Zehnder’s interactive Data Visualizer tool, which lets you build your own reports and customize the data – it’s also embeddable with downloadable and shareable images (see prompts along the bottom of each page).
Key findings from the Egon Zehnder GBDA include:
- The U.S. remains stagnant in its diversity journey: The U.S. experienced just 1 percent growth in board diversity between 2012 and 2016; women held 19 percent of board positions in 2012 and 20 percent in 2016.
- Compare this to Western Europe, the leading region in board diversity – women held 16 percent of board positions in 2012, jumping to 26 percent in 2016.
- Pipeline progress for increasing female presence in the boardroom is weak: The overall global ratio of new board appointments remained at three males to one female.
- We must rethink the definition of optimal board composition: Current and former CEOs and CFOs represent the highest share of new board appointments, but women hold just 4 percent of CEO roles and 11 percent of CFO roles.
- Nearly half of the countries studied have zero female CEOs and CFOs.
- Gender parity remains 20 years away if we continue at the average global rate of board diversity improvement over the last two years, 1.6 percent per annum.
The report also explores angles such as gender diversity quotas, which have been implemented across Western Europe, and it calls for leaders of boards to expand the definition of diversity to also consider diversity of age, nationality and experience. Overall, the data shows that transforming board gender composition is possible globally, and Egon Zehnder provides progressive steps boards and leaders can take to reimagine diversity for the long-term benefit of their organizations.
Please feel free to experience the data via the Visualizer, and I’m happy to talk about ways to use the images and embed the tool into your story as well. The head of Egon Zehnder’s U.S. Board Practice, Carol SingletonSlade, is also available for interviews if interested. Please find the full press release below and a link to the report PDF here.
· Pipeline progress for increasing female presence in the boardroom is weak: Though specific country performance varies, the overall global ratio of male to female directors for new appointments remained at three males to one female for board appointments.
· Sixteen diversity champion countries worldwide have achieved the critical mass of three female board directors on average, which is the number needed for sustainable and transformative change: Western Europe experienced the greatest gains, notably in areas like Italy and France that put quotas in place in 2011 and saw quick progress. However, quotas aren’t the only means to diversity gains– in the UK, women hold 26 percent of board positions compared to the global average of 19 percent. Compare this progress with the U.S., which experienced just one percent growth in percentage of board positions held by women over the last four years.
· We must rethink the definition of optimal board composition: Current and former CEOs and CFOs represent the highest share of new board appointments, but women’s representation in these roles globally is just under 4 percent. Nearly half of the countries studied have zero female CEOs and CFOs. In only six of 44 countries women hold more than 10 percent of CEO roles; half of the countries have no female CEOs. In only 19 of 44 countries women hold more than 10 percent of CFO roles; 19 of 44 have no female CFOs.