NZX, ASX technology companies equally dismal for boardroom diversity

The High Tech Awards featured a lot of female winners. But at boardroom level, it's a different story (montage: @nzvorn)

The annual High Tech Awards, held in Christchurch on Friday night, were something of a triumph of diversity.

Lawyer turned managing director and tech investor Sacha Judd tweeted that was something of a turnaround:

Clare Capital general manager Vicky Upton agreed, emailing clients "It was wonderful to see so many women on stage (both winning and presenting awards."

Ms Upton thought it would be timely for her company to analyse the makeup of boards for ASX and NZX-listed companies.

The news wasn't so flash.

There might be more women from the tech industry picking up awards, but the boardroom stats for technology companies on both sides of the Tasman are dismal, from a gender diversity point-of-view:

Source: Clare Capital, via ASX, NZX data

Clare Capital also found that of 206 listed technology companies over the two exchanges:

► None have a majority of women.

► Only three have an equal gender split.

Clare also found there are only nine women board members across 15 NZX tech companies.

Seven of those 15 companies' boards have no women and seven other boards have only one woman.

(NBR, in case you're wondering, has two men and two women on its board.)

A number of views on the boardroom diversity have been aired on NBR recently.

Some have argued for purely merit-based selection criteria.

Others have quoted research from McKinsey and others that companies with more diverse boards make larger profits on average, and that a diverse mix of directors tends to be a better reflection of a business's customer base out in the real world.

Click the links below to see more on those discussions, or leave a comment below to add your view.

RELATED VIDEO: Damien Grant says to focus on skills (May 19).


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5 Comments & Questions

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The only diversity I care about in a boardroom is the diversity of intelligent ideas.
Selecting someone because of their sex, ethnicity, height, hair colour or boot size is a sham in my opinion. It is not an equal representation of the segments of society that should be desired, but, that the most talented individuals make their way to the top, irrespective of what groupings they are identified with. Competence is a better indicator of evolutionary triumph than class favourites.
Shouldn't the high tech awards be focusing on celebrating high tech?

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So Sacha Judd refused to go along because the awards where not diverse enough for her.......but that was FIXED this year so all good.

I hope the finalists were there on merit not to pander to someones preferred outcome.

But to be honest these awards have often been a mystery and often recognise mediocre companies that just happen to either be very vocal or in the in crowd.

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To be fair, I think the implication was that the awards were a bit boys' club before rather than bending over backwards to be politically-correct today.

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I agree that probably was what was meant and you can often see that in who wins these awards. Being part of the club - male or female - significantly increases the odds.

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As long as, in the quest to be more diverse, a minimum standard of qualifications and experience is not compromised then i honestly don't care.

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