Champagne toasts are still clinking across the country as we celebrate Australia’s incredible milestone of landing women in over 30% of ASX200 company board seats. But with one victory comes another disheartening realisation — this number is nowhere close to representing Australia’s rich cultural makeup.
A new study by Watermark Search International and Governance Institute of Australia found that at our current trajectory, it’s going to take 18 years for ASX300 boardrooms to reflect Australia’s ethnicity pool. Looking at the current directors of these top 300 companies, a whopping 92.5% of them come from an Anglo-Celtic or European background.
Unsurprisingly, diversity — be that of race or age — has been proven to be tied to a company’s success. If you take a look at our top 100 companies, the percentage of board members who don’t come from an Anglo-Celtic or European background jumps to 18%.
The team at Watermark and the Governance Institute predict this increase will continue, noting that not only are investors and shareholders increasing pressure on companies to be more diverse, but customers are also calling for corporations to share their own morals and values too.
Change should be wholeheartedly embraced by these top companies who undoubtedly set an example for other Australian businesses. And if the predictions in this study are anything to go by, directors or chairs who sit on the same board for over 15 years will soon be an endangered species. Change is coming.