The Diversity Scorecard 2013: Measuring Board Composition in Asia Pacific

Measuring Board Composition in Asia Pacific.

The Diversity Scorecard 2013: Measuring Board Composition in Asia Pacific is Korn/Ferry International’s second comprehensive study of board members at the 100 largest listed companies in nine markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.

Our findings reveal that while there has been some progress in improving diversity on Asia’s boards, it has been slow. Most countries’ boards now have a slightly higher percentage of female directors than two year ago, but only Australian companies have made significant improvement, with female directors accounting for 16.7 percent, up from 11.2 percent in 2010. Elsewhere, female directors account for less than 10 percent of total board members. Further, more than 50 percent of boards in India, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea have no female directors.

We found that boards are also often lacking in other aspects of diversity, such as age and ethnicity. On those facets of diversity, for example, we found: 

  • China has the youngest directors on average. Japan has the oldest: 89 percent of directors in Japan come from the Baby Boom generation.
  • The majority of boards consist of a single ethnic group, except in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.
  • Female directors are more likely to have an accounting educational background, or public sector or not-for-profit sector work experience than male directors.

The Diversity Scorecard also includes data on director tenure, educational background, and independence, as well as a breakdown of board size, structure, and leadership roles. The report was created in partnership with Associate Professor Yuen Teen Mak, an expert in governance and board practices from the National University of Singapore’s Business School.

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