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When it comes to gender diversity on company boards, organisations around the world still have a long way to go. However, in Asia, countries like Hong Kong and Malaysia are leading the way.
According to Egon Zehnder’s 2014 European Board Diversity Analysis, a biennial study on gender diversity, 72% of companies in Hong Kong now have women on the board, up from 58% in 2012. China lags behind at 66.7%, but has also showed a marginal improvement over 2012’s 63.3%.
Similarly in Malaysia, female participation on board has increased to 80% in 2014, up from 66.7% in 2012. In comparison, Singapore’s numbers have stayed static at 53% since 2012.
Despite these improvements in the Asian region, the overall picture remains rather dismal.
The share of women among all board seats available is sub 10% in China, India, and Singapore, while the global average stands at only 11.6%. The number of women in chair roles stands at nil in Malaysia and China, while Hong Kong has outperformed the global average of 3.9% in this aspect, standing at 5.6%.
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Diversity has also been reported in terms of non-national board members, where Singapore is far ahead of the 17% global average, at 42.5%. Hong Kong also stands strong at 33.5%.
“Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hungary, and Poland all now have at least one woman serving on 70% or more of the boards we studied, a sign that boards in these countries may be poised to realise meaningful advances in gender diversity,” the study notes.
Globally, there are a number of countries who have female board members in 100% of companies surveyed – including New Zealand, Indonesia, France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Ireland.