Diversity: ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations

Diversity: ASX disclosure

Diversity reporting for ASX listed entities has increased, however the statistics show that a marked improvement in representation of women in senior positions is still needed.

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Diversity needs to remain in focus for corporate organisations, with the latest statistics of women on boards and at executive level still showing vast imbalance.

In the new ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations on Diversity report, which analyses the disclosures on diversity statistics for financial years ending 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015, it was revealed that in ASX 501 + companies, only 6 percent of board members were women, down from 9 percent in 2013.

Things looked a little better for S&P/ASX 200 companies, with 22 percent of board members women, up from 18 percent in 2013, while for ASX 201-500 companies, 15 percent of board members were women, up from 10 percent in 2013.

The full report examines the statistics in more detail at different levels of management, and also looks at reporting on diversity in other area such as age and ethnicity. It examines whether companies are setting measurable objectives to improve diversity in the years ahead, and if they are not, why they are not.

Some other key findings

  • The report shows evidence of an increase in the number of entities establishing a diversity policy since 2013.
  • It shows a high level of compliance to the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Diversity Recommendations is evident in the vast majority of entities, with the most notable increase in the ASX 501 + category.
  • There was an improvement in the number of entities disclosing objectives against which progress can be easily measured.
  • Few entities set or disclosed quantitative objectives (for example ensuring 30 percent of director seats held by women by 2018).
  • The majority of measurable objectives focused on implementing diversity programs or initiatives, such as undertaking a pay equity review, implementing programs in unconscious bias, or undertaking an all employee satisfaction survey.
  • There continued to be a number of entities reporting more aspirational objectives such as achieving a culture of inclusion, making it difficult for these entities to measure progress against their objectives both now and in future years.

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