2016 Interesting Statistics

Men vs. Women

Nearly 75% of private tech company boards have no women –Fast Company

Companies have 36% better performance with 3+ women on boards –Fast Company

Icahn Associates Holding, which nominated the most directors over the past five years, won 45 of the 94 board positions sought. Among the 42 people he put forward as candidates, not one was a woman.  –BloombergBusiness

Since the beginning of 2011, five of the biggest U.S. activist funds have sought at least 174 board positions and landed 108, yet nominated women just seven times. The women candidates got five seats, or 5 percent of the total. –BloombergBusiness

At Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies over the same period, about 26 percent of director openings, or 446 seats, were filled by women.  –BloombergBusiness

Women make up an estimated 40% of the global workforce, with many countries seeing an almost equal split of women and men in the labour force. However, these numbers are not reflected on corporate boards. – World Economic Forum

A report on gender diversity on corporate boards from McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University looked into the hiring patterns of 3,000 US companies from 2002-2011. The researchers found a “gender matching heuristic”, meaning that when men leave they are more likely to be replaced by a man, while women are more likely to be hired to fill a space vacated by another woman. – World Economic Forum

In 2015, men held 80.1% of S&P 500 board seats, while women only held 19.9%. – Catalyst

In 2015, men held 73.1% of S&P 500 new directorships, while women only held 26.9%. – Catalyst

In 2015, 2.8% of S&P 500 companies had zero women directors and only 14.2% of companies had 30% or more women on their boards. – Catalyst

Within S&P 500 companies, women held: 4.2% of CEO positions, 9.5% of top earner positions, 25.1% of executive/senior-level officials and managers positions, 36.4% of first/mid-level officials and managers positions; also, 44.3% of total employees were women. – Catalyst

One in ten directors believes the optimal representation of women on boards should be 20% or less, the report said, and “97% of those who believe this are male. – Business Insider

For now, women only make up about 20% of boards. – Business Insider

93% of women surveyed — think there are enough diverse candidates out there to choose from for corporate boards, while only 64% of men do. – Business Insider

Public and private company boards are similar in terms of the representation of women, minorities and new directors. On average, 18% of board members are women, 7% are ethnic minorities and 13% have been appointed in the past 12 months (prior to April 2016). – Spencer Stuart

Female representation (on boards) is highest (20% or more) in the consumer staples, financial services/professional services and consumer discretionary sectors, and lowest in IT/telecom (13%). – Spencer Stuart

Female representation (on boards) is lowest in Central and South America and Asia. – Spencer Stuart

An April 2016 Board of Directors survey revealed that 16% of male corporate directors agree that diversity is not a top priority in board recruiting vs. 36% of female corporate directors agreeing. – Spencer Stuart

An April 2016 Board of Directors survey showed that 36% of male corporate directors agree there is a lack of qualified female director candidates vs. 7% of female corporate directors agreeing. – Spencer Stuart

Nearly 75% of surveyed directors do not personally support boardroom diversity quotas, but support for quotas varies significantly by gender and, to a lesser degree, by age. Forty-nine percent of female directors support diversity quotas, but only 9% of male directors do. – Spencer Stuart

67% of female directors ages 55 and younger personally support boardroom quotas, compared with 36% of female directors over 55 (the majority of male directors, of any age, do not support quotas). – Spencer Stuart

Female directors also are more likely to be in favor of government regulatory agencies requiring boards to disclose specific practices/steps being taken to seat diverse candidates (43% versus 14% of male directors). – Spencer Stuart

39% of female directors report that their gender was a significant factor in their board appointment, versus 1% of men. – Spencer Stuart


Slow Growth

One-quarter of companies in the S&P 500 in 2015 had only one female director. – The Washington Post

Only 4% of S&P 500 CEOs are female, and only 1% of Fortune 500 CEOs are African-American. – Business Insider

In 2015, 19.9 percent of powerful posting for companies in the S&P 500 index were female, up marginally from the 19.2 percent of female directors the year before. Women held less than 10 percent of top-earner positions. And just over a quarter of new board members were women – The Washington Post

In a recent 2016 survey, 60% of respondents selected global economic uncertainty as one of the five 2017 trends that will have the greatest impact on their companies. –NACD

Women accounted for 29.8 percent of new directors in 2015, up only slightly from 29.2 percent in 2014. – Hunt Scanlon Media


Board Composition & Member Profiles

The average board size for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was 10.8 last year, according to the Spencer Stuart board index. –Fortune

Directors of companies in the S&P 500 now sitting on an average of a little more than two public company boards – thestreet.com

One-quarter of companies in the S&P 500 in 2015 had only one female director. – The Washington Post


Boards Need Diversity

In 2016, fewer than 20 percent of board seats were held by African Americans/Blacks, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latino(a)s, though this is still a larger number than in the Fortune 500 as a whole. –Deloitte

Currently (2016), 65 percent of Fortune 100 boards have greater than 30 percent board diversity, compared to the Fortune 500 where that percentage drops to just under 50 percent of boards. –Deloitte

The desire to keep women’s representation low defies reason, at least when considering financial repercussions. As PwC notes, “research has shown that Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of female directors attained significantly higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation of female directors.” PwC cited a 2011 Catalyst study on the topic. – Business Insider

African Americans accounted for 9.3 percent of new directors in 2015, up from 8.3 percent in 2014. – Hunt Scanlon Media

The percentage of African American new directors has increased from 5.3 percent in 2009. African Americans accounted for 12.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2014, up slightly from 12.3 percent in 2010. – Hunt Scanlon Media

Asian and Asian American directors accounted for 4.8 percent of board seats filled in 2015 the report also revealed, down from 5.3 percent in 2014. – Hunt Scanlon Media

Directors of Asian descent have accounted for an average of 5.2 percent of new appointments over the past seven years (2009 to 2016), with no trend up or down. – Hunt Scanlon Media

Overall, people of Asian descent accounted for 5.3 percent of the U.S. population in 2014, up from 4.8 percent in 2010. – Hunt Scanlon Media

Of 399 new directors appointed by Fortune 500 companies in 2015, only 16 were Hispanic. – Hunt Scanlon Media

Over the past seven years (2009 to 2016), an average of 4.7 percent of new directors have been Hispanic. That dire statistic reveals there has been no discernible upward trend. – Hunt Scanlon Media

More women on boards and in senior management can increase profitability, according to research by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Ernst & Young LLP. –BloombergBusiness

The February study of more than 21,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries found that those with at least 30 percent women directors and executives could add as much as 6 percentage points to net margins. –BloombergBusiness


Growth Opportunities for Boardrooms

Organizations with women in the top leadership positions have almost double the number of board seats held by women. –Deloitte

Only 19% of respondents believe their boards possess a high level of cybersecurity knowledge. Only 42% of respondents feel confident that their companies are properly secured against a cyberattack. –NACD

Strengthening active board involvement in strategy development is one of the major improvement goals for 50% of directors. –NACD

Economic uncertainty and business-model disruption are among the top concerns for corporate boards in 2017. Respondents also report that major industry changes, growing regulatory demands, and cyberattacks will significantly affect their companies over the next 12 months. – NACD

International Boardroom Statistics

Women make up just 10.2 percent of all directors across boardrooms in Asia Pacific, according to a recent study by Korn Ferry and the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s Center for Governance, Institutions and Organizations (CGIO). The research showed some countries with very low female board representation, including: South Korea (women only occupying 2.6 percent of boards seats); Japan (3.3 percent); and Singapore (7.7 percent). Most of the countries reviewed in the report showed little or no improvement in gender diversity, with the exception of Australia, Malaysia and India. – Hunt Scanlon Media

Within Latin America, women hold only 6.5 percent of board positions, according to Egon Zehnder’s ‘2016 Latin American Board Diversity Analysis’ report. Low female board representation was widespread through the region with only Columbia (14 percent) having more than 10 percent of women board directors. All other countries had eight percent or less. – Hunt Scanlon Media

In early 2015, 23 Fortune 500 companies still had entirely male boards, while the percentage of female board directors in the Fortune 500 only grew by about 3.3% over the past decade.  – Fortune

Women hold less than a quarter of board seats in the majority of countries surveyed by Catalyst. Norway comes top, with women accounting for more than 35% of board seats at stock index companies.   – World Economic Forum

Germany’s new law requiring that women hold 30% of top board seats went into effect this January (2016)—but many companies don’t seem to have noticed. The law, which passed last year, requires the top 100 or so publicly traded companies to hit the 30% figure figure as of January 1, 2016. The quota applies specifically to supervisory boards, which are made up of outside directors elected by shareholders and workers, who appoint management and approve major business decisions. They are separate from a management board that runs day to day operations. – Fortune

Women now hold about 22% of supervisory board seats at Germany’s top companies, according to a new study from the Hans Böckler Foundation. – Fortune

Norway, France, the Netherlands, Italy and other countries on the continent already have corporate gender quotas in place. (In the U.S., which has no quotas, women held about 19% of the board seats of S&P 500 companies as of early last year.) – Fortune

Globally efforts to put women into senior roles are moving at a snail’s pace, according to a report from advisory firm Warth & Klein Grant Thornton AG. In the last five years the share of women in senior roles around the world has risen 3%. The report estimates that if growth continues at the same rate, workplace gender parity won’t be attained until 2060. – Fortune

A law passed in 2011 dictates that 40% of board members of CAC 40 companies must be women by (2017) next year  (the currently prevailing level is 35%). Companies that don’t meet the target won’t be allowed to make any board-level changes that don’t contribute to fulfilling the quota. –Fortune

Women make up 28 of the 44 board appointments that members of France’s CAC 40 index have submitted for approval at their general meetings this year. –Fortune

Annual Boardroom Survey Results

Highlights of the findings from the 2015 survey, “Criticism and Its Place in the Boardroom,” include:

  • Directors see direct link between the board’s effectiveness and how open the board is to argument and debate: 77% of respondents agree that their board would reach better conclusions if it were more open to debate and argument.
  • While criticism is highly valued by directors, many are not getting the training for it: 79% of directors feel that board members would benefit greatly from training in the giving and receiving of criticism, but 50% said that they have never received formal training on how to give criticism; 42% report no training on how to be a receptive receiver of criticism.
  • Criticism seen as a tool for change: 94% of board members believe that when criticism is used properly, it is a powerful influencer and motivator for bringing about change.
  • Criticism intended to hurt or be destructive may be waning in the workplace: Nearly 25% of respondents believe criticism intended to hurt is more prevalent now that it was 10 years ago, but more directors – nearly 38% – do not agree that it is more prevalent now.
  • Only just over half of directors believe that the CEO of their company takes criticism well: Looking to their relationship with the CEO, 53% of respondents said that the CEO of the company takes criticism well; 30% of directors disagreed and 17% were unsure.
  • Similar feedback on fellow directors: When asked if their fellow directors take criticism well, only about 50% agree; 33% are unsure.
  • More than one third have felt their critique of another director misinterpreted: 37% of directors can recall incidences where their criticism of another board member was misinterpreted as being accusatory or unjustly negative.

Most directors would like to de-personalize criticism from other directors: 62% of directors agreed or strongly agreed that their role as a board director would be positively impacted if they were better at not personalizing what others said. –Women Corporate Directors and Bright Enterprises Inc.

Silicon Valley Boards

Silicon Valley boards remain overwhelmingly male. Eighty-seven percent of directors and 97% of chairmen were, well, men. The numbers for women were up slightly over previous years, but not by much – Stanford Business

Female directors were noticeably more common at the 30 biggest companies than at the younger and smaller ones. – Stanford Business

At the big companies, women held 18% of all the directorships, and more than half of the big companies had more than 2 women on their boards. – Stanford Business

  • 97% of board chairman are men
  • 87% of board directors are men
  • 1/5 of board members are also on the board of at least one other Silicon Valley 150 firm
  • At 26 companies the founder also served as the chairmen and CEO (out of the surveyed companies that went public since 2010) – Stanford Business

Beyond gender, the makeup of Silicon Valley boards reflects strong social and experiential ties. Almost one-fifth of all Silicon Valley directors — a whopping 209 out of 1,156 — had undergraduate or graduate degrees from Stanford. Harvard degree-holders accounted for the second-biggest group — 132 directors. The University of California, Berkeley, came in third, with 38 directors. – Stanford Business

Board Skills, Processes, and Priorities

Of the 60% of directors who see a gap between the expectations placed on boards and the reality of the board’s ability to oversee a company, 64% believe expectations moderately exceeded reality. Strikingly, 25% believed expectations far exceeded reality. – PR Newswire

For the most part, boards appear to be adequately matching the skills that they consider most important for board service to the skills that they aimed to acquire in their most recent board appointment. Industry knowledge and financial/audit skills were 2 of the top 3 skills cited as “most important for board service today” and were also sought after in recent board candidates. – PR Newswire

In one notable exception to the finding above, 67% of respondents cited strategy as one of the most important areas of expertise for directors today – the highest of all skills named – but only 33% of respondents said that strategy expertise was among the skills the board most wanted to acquire with its most recent appointment. – PR Newswire

Behind the “top 3” of strategy and financial/audit expertise and specific industry knowledge, directors also cited risk management and international/global expertise as most important to board service today. Areas named least frequently as important were sales and marketing, and compensation and succession planning expertise. – PR Newswire

As greater regulatory requirements have put board performance under a microscope, many boards have instituted evaluations as part of their structure. Indeed, the survey revealed that more than two-thirds of boards conduct performance evaluations of directors. One-third of respondents have served on a board where evaluations were used to remove a director, showing that the evaluations do have teeth. – PR Newswire

Showing the value directors see in networking – which increases opportunities for both gaining knowledge and recruiting new board candidates – directors are spending an average of 9.4 hours/month on networking with peers. Women are investing a bit more time in this activity (10.1 hours vs. 9.1 hours average) and in planning/strategizing about their career than men (4 hours/month vs. 2.9 hours/month). – PR Newswire

Both male and female directors feel that board leaders’ serving as champions of board diversity is the #1 way to build diverse corporate boards. They rated this board leadership support as a far more important factor in building diversity than setting diversity targets or requirements or shareholders’ demanding diversity. – PR Newswire

Directors report an average of 6.6 full meetings per year, with a high attendance rate (95%). Boards for companies based in Australia & New Zealand meet most frequently (9.3 meetings/year), compared to just 4.9 meetings/year for firms based in Africa. North American directors reported an average of 5.8 meetings/year, and those in Western Europe reported 7.5 meetings/year. – PR Newswire

Most directors think that current compensation levels are set appropriately, but are more likely to think director compensation is too low. While 80% of respondents believed that compensation level of the CEO at their company was “about right” and only 12% believed it was too low, only 65% of directors felt that the compensation of directors on their board was “about right” and 32% believed it was too low. – PR Newswire

Annual Election

Investors have pushed companies broadly over the past few decades to move to more frequent director elections. Less than 11 percent of S&P 500 companies have staggered board elections today, down from 32 percent in 2011. – Equilar.