Women’s Representation on SGX-listed Companies Boards as at Dec 2015

Singapore’s largest companies, which are in the Straits Times Index (“STI”), led progress in increasing women directors in 2015. STI companies achieved 34% growth, with women’s representation reaching 10.2% as at end 2015, up from 7.6% in the previous year. For these 30 companies, women made up 27% of appointments in 2015, significantly above the overall market’s 14%. Only 9 of them continue to have all-male boards. They can be expected to consider having more diversity on boards in the coming years.

DAC, which provides the authoritative statistics on women’s representation on boards of SGX-listed companies, shared its findings as follows:

  1. Women’s Representation on Boards of SGX Listed Companies
      • Women’s representation on boards of companies listed on the SGX rose more rapidly in 2015. As at end 2015, women held 9.5% of the 5,029 directorships (board seats) on SGX listed companies, up from 8.8% at end 2014.

  1. Women’s Representation on Boards by Market Capitalisation

    Women’s representation on boards improved across the board for all sizes of company.1

      • Straits Times Index (STI) companies led the progress with 34% growth in 2015. Women directorships reached representation of 10.2% as at end 2015, double digit for the first time and the highest improvement among companies of all sizes.
      • Large market cap companies (including STI companies) improved by 10% reaching 9.6%, up from 8.7% at end 2014. These companies account for 90% of the market capitalisation of the SGX companies.
      • Catalist companies also showed good progress with 14% growth in women directorships in 2015, reaching women’s representation of 9.8% (Figure 1)

    Footnote 1: Refer to A1
  1. Additions to the Pool of Directors
      • The number of women directorships increased and number of men directorships decreased. Overall, the number of directorships declined in 2015 and the reduction was entirely in male directorships.
      • The increase of 78 women directorships was lower than the previous year’s 90 additions, while number of women directorship exits remained about the same. As a result, the net 30 increase in women directorships was less than previous year’s 41.
      • Of the women appointments in 2015, 38% were first time directors. In comparison, 32% of the male appointments were first time directors.2

      • Women made up 14% of all directorship appointments, the highest proportion for the past 15 years of data available (Figure 2).
      • Large companies added women directors at a faster pace compared to the rest of the market. For STI companies, women made up 27% of appointments in 2015, significantly above the overall market’s 14%. Likewise, for the 108 large market cap companies (including STI companies), women made up 20% of appointments in 2015.

    Footnote 2: Based on companies’ announcements to SGX, these directors did not have prior experience as a board director of a listed company.
  1. Women’s Representation on Boards by Industry3
      • Small improvements were seen in women’s representation across many of the industry groups but women’s representation clustered between 6 12%, as in the previous year (Figure 3). Many industries where women make up a large proportion of customers were still below the market average of 9.5%. Unless shareholders place priority on board diversity and engage boards on this issue, progress will continue to be slow.

    Footnote 3: Refer to A2
  1. Companies with All-Male Boards
      • The number all-male boards continued to decline across companies of all sizes in 2015.
      • STI companies showed the most significant decline of 30% from the previous year. There remained only 9 of 30 companies who do not have women on boards.
      • Large and mid market cap companies also showed significant decline, resulting in about 40% of companies having only men on their boards as at end 2015.
      • Despite the improvements, 52% of all 758 SGX-listed companies continued to have all-male boards as at end 2015.

  1. An International Comparison
    • Singapore, like other financial markets, is working towards increasing women’s representation on boards. SGX-listed company boards are gaining ground despite not having quotas or mandatory disclosure obligations (Figure 4).
    • Even in a voluntary setting, SGX-listed companies can still improve and disclose top level diversity to demonstrate the quality of their board. Introduction of disclosure regarding company’s progress towards self-set targets has helped other markets accelerate diversity on boards.

    • Australia – Australian Institute of Corporate Directors
    • China, South Korea – Korn Ferry & CGIO ‘Diversity matters: Adding colour to boards in APAC’ (March 2015)
    • France, Norway – Catalyst Census of Women Board Directors 2014
    • Germany, UK – Women on boards Davies Review: Five Year Summary October 2015
    • Hong Kong – 30% Club HK
    • India – NSE Infobase (1,457 listed companies & 217 unlisted financial companies)
    • Indonesia – CGIO ‘Indonesian Boardroom Diversity Report 2012 – Female Footprints in IDX-listed Companies’
    • Japan – Bloomberg Article ‘No Women on 90% of Japan Boards Belies Abe Equality Push’ (11 March 2015)
    • Malaysia – Bursa Malaysia
    • New Zealand – NZX Limited’s Diversity StatisticsUK – Women on boards: Davies Review Annual Report 2015
    • Singapore – Handshakes
    • US – Ernst & Young ‘Women on US boards: What are we seeing?’
A1 Profile of SGX-listed Companies

As at end 2015, there are a total of 758 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 5 below.

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: Data was collected from all SGX-listed companies’ annual reports and company announcements reported to SGX, up to 31 Dec 2015 (inclusive). Data does not reflect any disclosures after 31 December 2015.

A2 Listing of Industry Group and Industries

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