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Building your Board Portfolio...Myths and Tips - The NED Gender ‘Wars’

Myth 5... If you are a mature male executive you won’t get a board role because they are all going to younger women now.

In 2017 134 men and 68 women were appointed to board roles in the AS300. That translates to 66.3 % of the roles going to men and 33.7% to women. Interestingly for companies entering the ASX300 men were even more strongly represented with 82% of the directors being men and 18% of them being women.

Now I could stop there and say “Myth Busted” however it is true that the replacement rate for women in the ASX300 is higher than the exit rate. 40 women left ASX300 boards and 68 were appointed whereas 151 men left and 134 were appointed.

There is also an age difference with women being, on average, 4.3 years younger than their male counterparts; 56.7 years of age vs. 61 years of age. Yes, the women are younger but it is hardly a rampant charge towards filling our boards with millennials!

Government Boards in NSW and Victoria have been notable in moving more rapidly than the commercial sector to a 50:50 gender balance on a wide range of boards. As a result, during this process of achieving more gender balanced boards more women have been invited to join Government Boards than men. This shift is largely complete and so we can expect the future replacement rate to be much closer to a 50:50split.

On a final note

More men than women are being invited to join boards and there are more men (at a ratio of approximately 4:1) in the ASX300.

Government boards are much closer to a 50:50 balance and NFP boards often have a higher representation of women as NEDs

The men might feel hardly done by but a) appointments have previously been inordinately skewed in their favour and b) the men are still appointed to many more board roles than their female counterparts.

In the next article I will have a look at the flip side of that Myth namely: as a woman you can’t get a board role because they all go to the men!

Graham Willis

Graham has been a Fellow of the Institute of Company Directors for over 20 years and leads the Board Practice at Watermark Search International.

A series of articles that look at some of the myths surrounding the building of a board portfolio and also provides some practical tips, from current Chairs, on how you might build your portfolio. ​

To build your portfolio apply the 4 Ps:
Pragmatic, Planned, Persistent and Professional.

In case you missed it, read thelastarticlein the series.

Read the rest of the series here.
Building your Board Portfolio Myth 6 Part 2 - The NED Gender ’Wars’ (contd.)
Building your Board Portfolio Myth 7 - Government and NFP Boards ...Stepping Stones?
Building your Board Portfolio Myth 8 - I can have my cake and eat it!