Women’s Representation on SGX-listed Companies Boards as at Jun 2016

The Diversity Action Committee (“DAC”) studied women’s representation on boards of SGX-listed companies in Singapore as at June 2016. Women’s representation on boards grew slightly to 9.7%. Women made up 12% of new appointments during the 6 month period.

Magnus Böcker, Chairman of DAC, said, “Today’s boards are a lot more engaged, and the boardroom requires more varied skills and experience to bring any company forward. Bringing the best talents and diverse perspectives to the boardroom is no longer an option but a conscious effort made by a far-sighted company. I trust that all SGX-listed companies will take positive steps to rebalance their board capabilities and extend beyond their existing networks to where there are new skill sets, to recruit the most qualified men and women into the boardroom, especially women, who have been long under-represented. This will support a sustained growth for the company in the long run.”

  1. Overall View

    Improvement in women’s representation on boards of listed companies

      • As at end June 2016, women held 9.7% of directorships (board seats) on listed companies in Singapore, up from 9.5% as at end 2015, 8.8% as at end 2014 and 8.3% as at end 2013.


Jun 2016 WOB picture

  1. Women’s Representation on Boards by Market Capitalisation

    Improvements were seen across the board, in companies large and small, over the past 4 years

      • Large and Catalist companies showed the greatest improvements of more than 30% improvement from 2012 to Jun 2016.
      • Mid sized companies also showed improvements, but mainly due to a decrease in the number of companies (and hence board seats), rather than a real increase in women directorship appointments.

    Jun 2016 - 1 WOB by mkt cap

    Still many all-male boards across companies of all sizes although improvements have been seen

      • The proportion of all-male boards decreased across companies of all sizes, but there are still many all-male boards. Large companies showed the greatest improvement.

    Jun 2016 - 2 AMB by mkt cap

  1. Women’s Representation on Boards by Industry

    Low women’s representation on boards across all industries

      • There is not much differentiation in women’s representation on boards between different industries; most fall in the range of 7-13%.


    Jun 2016 - 3 WOB by industry

    Many consumer-facing industries still have all-male boards

      • It is dismaying that a large proportion of companies in Real Estate, Consumer Services, Food and Beverage, Food and Staples Retailing, Household and Personal Products industries continue to only have men on their boards.


    Jun 2016 - 4 AMB by industry

  1. An International Comparison

    Singapore trails behind other international financial markets in terms of women’s representation on boards

      • This is inconsistent with the high number of women in senior management and professional roles.


    Jun 2016 - 5 Intl Comparison


    Widening gap seen between Singapore, Australia and UK

    Jun 2016 - 6 Progress of SG Aust UK Index Stocks

    • Australia – Australian Institute of Company Directors
    • China, South Korea – Korn Ferry & CGIO ‘Diversity matters: Adding colour to boards in APAC’ (March 2015)
    • France, Norway – Catalyst ‘2014 Catalyst Census: Women Board Directors’
    • Germany – Lord Davies ‘Women on boards Davies Review: Five Year Summary’
    • Hong Kong – Webb-site.com ‘Distribution of HK-listed directorships per person’
    • India – NSE Infobase
    • 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’
    • Malaysia – Bursa Malaysia
    • New Zealand – NZX Limited’s Diversity Statistics
    • Singapore – Handshakes
    • UK – Lord Davies ‘Women on boards Davies Review: Five Year Summary’
    • US – Ernst & Young ‘Women on US boards: What are we seeing?
  1. Additions to the Pool of Directors

    More female directors appointed in recent years; fewer female first-time directors than male

      • Women made up a larger proportion of appointments1 over the past 10 years, reaching a high of 14% of appointments in 2015. In the recent half year, the proportion fell back to 2014 levels.

    Jun 2016 - 7 Women Appts


    Footnote 1: Excludes new listings.


    Fewer female first-time directors than male

      • Companies appear to be more willing to appoint men who have not served on boards of listed companies (first-time directors), but less so for women.

    Jun 2016 - 8 breakdown of appt

  1. More female independent directors in recent years
      • Women are now holding more independent directorship positions compared to other board roles. This debunks perceptions that diversity initiatives could lead to companies satisfying the numbers without appointing worthwhile candidates.
      • On the other hand, the type of board directorships for men has not changed much over time.


    Jun 2016 - 9 Type of Directorship

  1. Profile of a typical board director: male, above 50 years old, tertiary educated, less than 5 years tenure

    Age: Male directors tend to be older

      • Most female directors are aged 50-59 while most male directors are aged 60-69.
      • Of the 17 directors aged 80 and over, only 1 is female. 64% of board positions held by these directors were in independent directorship roles.

    Jun 2016 Profile 1 - Age


    Education: No significant difference between male and female directors

      • About 50% of directors have a Bachelor’s degree and another 40% have postgraduate education.

    Jun 2016 Profile 2 - Education


    Organisations and sectors: Most directors’ current/last employment are in Corporates

      • A few are from less traditional sectors.

    Jun 2016 Profile 3 - Current or Last Emplyt


    Tenure: Female directors’ tenures tend to be shorter

      • This is even more the case for independent directors. 23% of male independent directors have been on the boards for more than 10 years, with the longest tenure at 45 years.
      • In comparison, only 8% of female independent directors have served more than 10 years, with the longest tenure at 21 years.

    Jun 2016 Profile 4 - Directorship Tenure

Women on Boards - Tackling the Issue coverSpeaking with the Boards supplement coverFor more information, please see DAC’s two-part report ‘Women on Boards: Tackling the Issue’.

Statistics Reports

For SGX-listed Companies, Statutory Boards and IPCs

Jun 2021  Dec 2020  Dec 2019  Jun 2019

For SGX-listed Companies

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