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Tuesday, 10 March 2015, 11:00 HKT/SGT

Source: Korn Ferry
Study Links Gender Diversity in Asia Pacific Boardrooms to Better Company Performance
- Asia Pacific firms with at least 10 per cent women on boards have average ROE of 15.4 per cent, compared to 11.8 per cent for those that do not
- India gets boost from Companies Act revision, but still has a high proportion of all-male boards
- The country's gender diverse boards see highest ROE in Asia Pacific

SINGAPORE, Mar 10, 2015 - (ACN Newswire) - A major study that examined 1,000 companies across 10 Asia Pacific economies has, for the first time, associated better firm performance with companies that have at least 10 per cent of their board seats held by women.

Study links gender diversity in Asia Pacific boardrooms to better company performance

According to new findings published in the report, Diversity Matters: Adding Colour to Boards in APAC, boards that have at least 10 per cent of their seats held by women enjoy, on average, a 3.6 per cent higher Return on Equity (ROE) and 1.3 per cent higher Return on Assets (ROA) compared to boards where women make up less than a tenth of directors.

The report is published by Korn Ferry and the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School's Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO). The study is the third in the series and examined annual reports of the largest 100 publicly listed companies in each of 10 selected economies: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. The annual reports were for financial year 2012-2013.

The study found that the regional average for female representation in boardrooms stood at 9.4 per cent, up from 8.0 per cent in 2012, and there were fewer all-male boards in most countries surveyed. However, just 24 out of the 1000 boards had four or more women, and few women were in board leadership roles, with only three per cent of chair positions held by females.

The research also found that Asia's healthcare industry scored highest for gender diversity, with an average of 13.6 per cent female representation, while the industrials sector had the lowest proportion of women board directors at 5.8 per cent.

There were substantial differences between individual economies, with female board representation ranging from 2.1 per cent in South Korea to 18.6 per cent in Australia. Some countries, in particular New Zealand and China, recorded substantial improvement in gender diversity compared to 2012, while Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea saw the proportion of women on boards fall.

India displays commendable effort

The percentage of women on the boards of the largest 100 companies in India has increased to 7.3 per cent, up from 5.8 per cent in 2012, following a revision to the country's Companies Act in 2013, which requires companies to have at least one female director in the boardroom within one to three years from the introduction of the policy. This puts the country ahead of South Korea and Japan, but behind all other countries surveyed.

However, India remains in eighth place in the Asia Pacific for gender diversity, with a relatively high proportion of all-male boards at 44 per cent.

Contrary to perceptions that India's many family firms would pay lip service to the new rule by nominating female family members for board positions, the study found that the majority (59 per cent) of female board directors have independent status, indicating that companies have actively done external searches to fill these positions.

Boardrooms in India with at least 10 per cent of female representation enjoyed, on average, 21.2 per cent ROE - the highest ROE in the Asia Pacific, compared to 16.1 per cent at boards with a female proportion of less than 10 per cent.

India's industrials sector scored the lowest for gender diversity, with only 5.1 per cent of board seats in the sector held by women.

"Despite the progress, what we see in Asia Pacific is still too little of a good thing. We found that more women on boards is linked to better company performance, but too few Asia Pacific boards have substantial female representation. There is significant potential for companies to benefit from greater gender diversity in their boardrooms, particularly in Asian countries", said Associate Professor Marleen Dieleman, Associate Director of CGIO, NUS Business School.

"Despite the efforts made by governments and organizations, women still remain under-represented on boards in the region. To move towards a balanced representation of women on boards requires a collective effort from all parties. Companies should consider taking concrete steps to improve board diversity by making a deliberate choice to consider female candidates for board positions and start by promoting more women to senior roles", said Alicia Yi, Managing Director, Asia Pacific Consumer Markets at Korn Ferry.

The report, which includes findings from the other nine Asia Pacific economies, can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/1F1G2Kv.

Hong Kong: http://www.acnnewswire.com/press-release/english/20649/
Indonesia: http://www.acnnewswire.com/press-release/english/20653/
Singapore: http://www.acnnewswire.com/press-release/english/20655/
South Korea: http://www.acnnewswire.com/press-release/english/20652/

About Korn Ferry

At Korn Ferry, we design, build, attract and ignite talent. Since our inception, clients have trusted us to help recruit world-class leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their goals. Our solutions range from executive recruitment and leadership development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning, and recruitment process outsourcing.

Visit http://www.kornferry.com for more information on Korn Ferry, and http://www.kornferryinstitute.com for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.

About Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations

The Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO) was established by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School in 2010 and aims to promote relevant and impactful research on governance issues that are relevant to Asia, including corporate governance, governance of family firms, state-linked companies, business groups, and institutions. CGIO organises events such as public lectures, industry roundtables and academic conferences on topics related to governance.

NUS Business School is known for providing management thought leadership from an Asian perspective, enabling its students and corporate partners to leverage global knowledge and Asian insights.

The School is one of the 16 faculties and schools at NUS. A leading global university centred in Asia, NUS is Singapore's flagship university which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 37,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives.

This year, NUS celebrates its 110th year of founding together with Singapore's 50th year of independence. As the island's first higher education institution established by the local community, NUS prides itself in nurturing generations of leaders and luminaries in Singapore and Asia. Details on NUS' 110th Anniversary celebrations are available at www.nus110.sg.

For more information, please visit www.bschool.nus.edu.sg, or go to the Think Business portal which showcases the School's research (www.thinkbusiness.nus.edu).

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mr Christopher CHONG
Senior Manager, Media Relations
NUS Business School
National University of Singapore
DID: +65-6601-1206
Email: [email protected]

Mr Alan CHUA
Marketing Manager
Korn Ferry
DID: +65-6231-6138
Email: [email protected]

Topic: Research / Industry Report
Sectors: Daily Finance, Daily News, Human Resources
From the Asia Corporate News Network

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Korn Ferry Releated News
Mar 10, 2015 12:00 HKT/SGT
Study Links Gender Diversity in Asia Pacific Boardrooms to Better Company Performance
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