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Despite more companies acknowledging the business case for a diverse workforce, looks like the gender gap in companies is here to stay – especially within Asia Pacific’s power and utilities sector.
According to EY’s Talent at the table: Women in Power and Utililties Index 2015, the number of female board members dropped from 15% in 2014 to 14% this year.
At the same time, the number of female non-executive directors decreased from 18% to 17%.
In Asia Pacific (APAC), only a small percentage (3%) of board executives are female, the second lowest in the world.
Africa sits at the top of the list with 14% while Europe and US came in second and third with 7% and 5% respectively.
“These findings are hugely disappointing. The industry can’t afford to go backward. For utilities to reap the rewards of more diversity in the boardroom, change has to take place more quickly,” said Alison Kay, EY’s global power and utilities leader.
Latin America came in last among the regions with no females in their board rooms.
In terms of women on senior management teams (SMTs), US and Canada sit in the top spot with 18%,
This was followed by Latin America and the Caribbean at 17%, Europe at 11%, and APAC at 10%.
The report stressed the need to have more women seniors in the sector was crucial, especially as those companies which have embraced diversity have an obvious advantage in business performance.
It identified that the top 20 companies in gender diversity are significantly outperforming the lower 20 companies, with an average return of equity of 8.5% compared to 7%.
This 1.5% difference roughly translates to millions worth in profit gap in such an asset-heavy industry, the report stated.