MENTORING CRITICAL TO INCREASING BOARD DIVERSITY

According to the GMI Ratings’ 2012 Women on Boards Survey (March 2012), Australia, together with France, has the largest one-year increase in female board representation, with corporate governance code amendment and high-level mentoring programs cited as contributors to these strong results.

Further, a March 2012 KPMG analysis of the effectiveness of the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Principles and Recommendations on Diversity, found that mentoring and networking programs are among the most commonly disclosed diversity initiatives adopted by our leading companies.

Mentoring programs aim to assist mentees to develop connections with influential business leaders, gain knowledge and skills that will assist them in achieving director appointments, increase their understanding of how company boards work, and gain valuable advice on the process of selecting and appointing new directors. It is also of great value to mentors, putting them in contact with highly qualified women with potential as company directors. In Australia, we believe that mentoring has contributed to a shift in boardroom attitudes, and has a practical role to play in increasing board diversity both in the short term and the long term by achieving a sustained cultural change to board recruitment, selection practices and the promotion of women in senior management.

Since the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) began its Chairmen’s Mentoring Program in 2010, the proportion of women appointed to ASX 200 board roles has jumped significantly from 5 percent in 2009 to an average of 25 percent over the past three years. It has also been particularly pleasing that many of our mentees have secured their first or additional board role, either on private, public or not-for-profit (NFP) boards – some as a direct result of their involvement. 

Apr-Jun 2013 Issue

Australian Institute of Company Directors