The Diversity Action Committee (“DAC”) studied women’s representation of women on boards of SGX-listed companies in Singapore as at end 2014. The DAC found that women’s representation on boards grew slightly to 8.8%. Magnus Böcker, Chairman of DAC, said, “The increased representation of women on boards of SGX listed companies is encouraging. DAC has embarked on several initiatives working together with other organisations to help companies look beyond traditional sources to bring diversity to listed companies. Though we still have a long way to go, the findings support how a rising number of companies and their boards are taking steps to foster better governance and business performance with a more gender-diverse board.”
Improvement in women’s representation on boards of listed companies
- The number of directorships (board seats) held by women rose 10% to 448 in 2014 from 406 in 2013.
- As at end 2014, women held 8.8% of the 5,082 directorships (board seats) on listed companies in Singapore, up from 8.3% as at end 2013 and 8% as at end 2012. The improvement of 0.5% was higher than in the previous year.
Additions to the Pool of Directors
Increase in net number of women directorships
- There was a net increase of 42 women directorships, making up a significant 25% of the total increase in directorships in 2014. The net increase arose from 91 women directorships being added to the pool and 49 exiting mainly through resignations. (Table 1)
- Out of the 91 new women directorships in 2014, 74% (or 67 directorships) were attributed to existing companies appointing women directors. The rest were women directorships from newly listed companies.
12% of the new directorship appointments1 were women (67 out of 558 new appointments). A gradual upward trend of more women being appointed to boards was observed over the past 14 years. (Figure 1)Footnote 1: Excludes New Listings.
Women’s Representation on Boards by Market Capitalisation
Similar women’s representation across companies of all sizes
- The percentage of women directors on boards was almost the same across companies2 of different sizes. However, all size categories showed an increase in the absolute number of women directorships, with large companies (market capitalization larger than S$1b) and companies listed on Catalist showing the largest increase. (Figure 2)
- Companies that were components of the Straits Times Index (STI), representing the top 30 companies, showed an increase of 1.0%, from 2013’s 6.6% to 7.6% in 2014. However, the representation of women directors is still lower than the market as a whole.
Footnote 2: Refer to A1
Women’s Representation on Boards by Industry
Improvements in women’s representation across many industry groups3
- There was little differentiation in women’s representation on boards across all industries, with most industries clustering between 6-11%. (Figure 3)
- The Media industry is notable as it showed a significant jump of 12% to reach 16% representation of women on boards. This is the highest across all industries. However, there is still room for improvement as 60% of companies in the Media industry still do not have women directors.
Footnote 3: Refer to A2
Types of Directorship Held by Women
More women independent directors in 2014
- The increase in women appointments in 2014 was mainly in independent director roles. Having more independent women directors indicates that companies recognize the importance of good corporate governance. (Table 2)
Companies with only men on their boards
No material change in proportion of companies with only men on their boards
- 55.5% of the 764 companies listed on SGX have only men on their boards. Improvements were seen in companies of all sizes. The greatest reduction in the number of all-male boards was seen in large market-capitalisation companies. (Table 3)
- About 25% of all‑male boards are in the Capital Goods industry. Energy, Materials, Real Estate and Technology Hardware & Equipment industries also have a significant number of all-male boards. The remaining all-male boards are spread out across the other industries. However, some industries where women form a large proportion of the customer base still have many boards with only men. These are industries like Consumer Durables & Apparel, Consumer Services, Food & Staples Retailing, Retailing and Real Estate.
- Companies that had only men on their boards over the past 3 years (2012-2014) showed similar results. Of the 339 companies who had only had men on their boards over the 3 years, 26.5% (90 companies) were in the Capital Goods industry, and 20% were attributed to Consumer Durables & Apparel, Consumer Services, Food & Staples Retailing, Retailing and Real Estate industries.
An International Comparison
Singapore trails behind other international financial markets in terms of women’s representation on boards (Figure 5). This is inconsistent with the high number of women in senior management and professional roles.
- Australia – Women on Boards ‘Boardroom Diversity Index 2015’
China, South Korea – Korn Ferry & CGIO ‘Diversity matters: Adding colour to boards in APAC’ (March 2015)
India – NSE Infobase (1,457 listed companies & 217 unlisted financial companies)
Japan – Bloomberg Article ‘No Women on 90% of Japan Boards Belies Abe Equality Push’ (11 March 2015)
Hong Kong – Community Business’s Women on Boards Hong Kong 2015 (March 2015)
Indonesia – CGIO ‘Indonesian Boardroom Diversity Report 2012 – Female Footprints in IDX-listed Companies’
Malaysia – Securities Commission Malaysia Annual Report 2014
New Zealand – Human Rights Commission’s 2012 New Zealand Census of Women’s Participation
Singapore – Handshakes
UK – Women on boards: Davies Review Annual Report 2015
US – Ernst & Young ‘Women on US boards: What are we seeing?
A1 Profile of SGX-listed Companies
As at end 2014, there are a total of 764 companies4 listed on the Mainboard and Catalist. The distribution of the Mainboard companies (based on market capitalization) and companies listed on Catalist is shown in Figure 6 below.Figure 6: Distribution of Companies by Market Capitalisation
Large market-capitalisation companies: more than S$1b
Mid market-capitalisation companies: between S$300m to S$1b
Small market-capitalisation companies: less than S$300m
Footnote 4: Source: Handshakes. Data was collected from all SGX-listed companies’ annual reports and company announcements reported to SGX, up to 31 Dec 2014 (inclusive). Data does not reflect any changes after 31 December 2014.
A2 Listing of Industry Group and Industries