Gender Diversity & Board Directors
Gender diversity has become a driving force within many organisations across Australia. In 2019, Ccentric had the pleasure of placing a number of board positions, 40% of whom were female. As part of our commitment to diversity we conducted a survey of Board Chairs across the healthcare industry, research institutes, not-for-profit and human services sectors as well as Chancellors of Universities; to establish how they felt their boards compare in a number of areas, including gender diversity.
In conjunction with the survey, we analysed a sample of 293 organisations to compare the current gender diversity statistics within these organisations with the rating that board chairs rank their organisation. We sampled a variety of organisations including; public hospitals and health services, private hospital groups, not-for-profit healthcare groups, aged care companies, research institutes, universities, primary health networks, private education providers, charitable organisations and other private medical groups.
Board Chair and Chancellor Survey Analysis
In 2020, following on from research we had previously conducted, we asked 51 Board Chairs and University Chancellors how they rated their board in terms of diversity equality; specifically, in relation to representation of gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and indigenous representation.
Of this group, only 12% believe that an important board function is to encourage and maintain diversity within their respective organisations. Instead Board Chairs and Chancellors feel that the essential functions of a board are CEO recruitment and succession planning (73%), Financial stewardship (74%), Strategic planning for the organisation (73%) and corporate governance, compliance and risk (69%).
Board Chair Analysis
Of the 293 organisations boards analysed; 26% have a female board chair, with 43% of all board members being female.
Across each sub-sector of the healthcare and academic industries, only Primary Health Networks have a 50:50 split of Female to Male board chairs; which also has the highest percentage of females in a board chair position across the analysed sectors. Research Institutes and Health Associations on the other hand, only have 9% of board chairs who are female.
Again, across these sub-sectors; the percentage of female versus male board members is more closely aligned, with only 4 sub-sectors having less than 40% of board members female. Government organisations are the only organisations that have more female board members than male with 51%, while Private Healthcare Groups have the lowest number of female board members with only 30%.
ASX Gender Diversity
The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) reports quarterly on the progress of their target to achieve 30% female representation on the boards of ASX 200 organisations. As of January 2020, 30.7% of board directors of ASX 200 organisations were female. While this signifies a great milestone, there are still only 17 female Board Chairs amongst the ASX 200, 34 companies with only 1 female board director and still 6 companies without a single female as part of their board.
Following meeting the goal of 30% of the ASX 200 board directors being female, the group is now tracking the progress of the ASX 300 companies reaching the 30% target by 2021. We looked at the current list to analysis how healthcare related organisations are tracking. Currently in the top 20 of the ASX 300 companies there are:
- 5 healthcare companies
- 2 of whom have female Board Chairs
- Between the 5 organisations there are 12 female directors
How do we progress
Overall, the healthcare sectors are tracking well in relation to gender diversity equality on their boards, certainly compared to the rest of the Australian market. As an organisation, Ccentric is continually committed to assisting our clients through our Advancing Diversity and Inclusion policy and our continued commitment to research, which can help guide organisations make decisions with the best possible outcome for both candidates and clients.
 Australian Institute of Company Directors, “Gender Diversity Progress Report; October 2019 to January 2020”, Australian Institute of Company Directors, 2020, page 4, https://aicd.companydirectors.com.au/advocacy/board-diversity/we-have-reached-a-milestone-for-female-directors
 Australian Institute of Company Directors, “Gender Diversity Progress Report; October 2019 to January 2020”, Australian Institute of Company Directors, 2020, page 14, https://aicd.companydirectors.com.au/advocacy/board-diversity/we-have-reached-a-milestone-for-female-directors
Help us obtain more data around diversity, inclusion and equity in the workplace. Limited data is currently available, which is why we designed this diversity survey to be able to present to the industry where changes can be made.