Increase in Women Directors on Boards of SGX-listed Companies in 2014

Last year, the number of directorships (board seats) occupied by females rose 10% to 448, compared to 406 in 2013, reports Singapore’s Diversity Action Committee (DAC).

Out of the total increase in directorships during the year which stood at 166, women made up 25% of new seats.

New listings and appointments grew the female directorship pool by 91 while 49 stepped down from positions, resulting in a net increase of 42 female board members. 36 of these were independent director roles while the remaining 6 were non-independent director roles.

The DAC findings indicate a steady/slight increase in the presence of women on SGX-listed company boards year over year. At the end of 2014, women representation was 8.8%, compared to 8.3% in 2013 and 8.0% in 2012.

Mainboard and Catalist Companies Saw Improvement

Female board representation is at a similar percentage, when compared across different sized companies.

However, the improvement was most noticeable in large companies with S$1b market capitalization and up, as well as Catalist companies. The representation of women increased 1.5 points to 8.7% in large companies and 1.4 points at Catalist companies to 8.6%.

The leading 30 companies on the Straights Times Index have female representation below the market at 7.6% but still had an increase of 1 percentage point compared to the previous year.

Many Industry Groups See Improvement

Most noticeably the media industry showed a 16% women’s representation, which is the highest across the country, while the remaining industries ranged between 6-11%.

Of the 764 SGX-listed companies at the end of 2014, 55.5% had all-male boards which was down from 56% in the previous year. Of these companies about 80% have had all-male boards for the last three years.

Singapore Trails Behind International Trends

Although Singapore has a large well-educated population of senior-level female executives, it falls behind other countries.

Despite the country not having as many female board members as others internationally, Magnus Bocker, the chairman of DAC is encouraged by the increase of female directorships in SGX-listed companies.

As more companies seek ways to incorporate diversity into their boards, by including women for instance, SGX-listed companies can foster better corporate governance. A gender-diverse board may also enhance the business performance of these companies.

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