The study, Building Diversity in Asia Pacific Boardrooms, is the fourth in the Korn Ferry Diversity Scorecard series and examined the largest 100 publicly listed companies’ 2014 annual reports in ten Asia Pacific economies: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. Based on the findings, firms with at least 10 per cent of female board members delivered a 14.9 per cent return on equity (ROE) in 2014 compared to just 12.6 per cent for those without.
According to this year’s findings, three countries in the Asia Pacific region, namely Australia, India and Malaysia, showed significant improvement in broadening women representation on boards across the companies. A combination of government initiatives has contributed to the increase in these countries.
While it is encouraging to note that all-male boards are no longer a majority in the region with a significant drop from 53.2 per cent in 2012 to 39.0 per cent in 2014, Asia Pacific still falls far behind benchmark global economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union. For the region to reach parity with these markets, it would require another decade of growth at the current pace.
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