AP2’s Female Index 2014: The number of women on publicly quoted corporate boards rises for first time in three years

The AP2’s Female Representation Index for 2014 reveals that the number of women on publicly quoted corporate boards has risen for the first time in three years, from 22.3 to 24.7 per cent. At the same time, the number of women in executive management positions continues to note a steady rise, amounting to 18.4 per cent for the same period – an increase of more than one percentage point.

“The trend is in the right direction. But there is still much to do in accelerating the rate of this increase and better utilizing all available competence. Stakeholders and nomination committees share a particular responsibility here. We are determined to shoulder ours and hope that many others will elect to follow the same path,” says Eva Halvarsson, CEO of the Second Swedish National Pension Fund/AP2.

If the pace of change noted over the past decade continues, it will be another 30 years before women fill 50 per cent of the seats on corporate boards. The corresponding forecast for achieving 50 per cent representation on executive managements is no less than 48 years.

AP2 is actively committed to increasing the diversity and quality of corporate boards. One aspect of this commitment is to conduct analyses of the work and results of nomination committees. For example, in instances where AP2 sees the potential for a broader and more fact-based recruitment process, it may well raise the issue at an Annual General Meeting.

“Recruiting from a fact-based and broadened pool of talent that embraces competent candidates found beyond the nomination committees’ normal networks of contacts offers companies the best hope of developing in an optimal way. This is why it is such an important question for us from an investment perspective,” states Eva Halvarsson.

Large-caps lead on corporate boards while small-caps feature greatest increase in executive management
The 2014 survey reveals that the large-cap companies have achieved the greatest increase in female representation at board level, rising by 3.9 per cent to 29.1 per cent. They also noted the highest percentage of women in executive management, at just over 19 per cent.

Even so, compared to last year’s figures, the largest increase in the percentage of women in executive positions, who accounted for 18.3 per cent of executive management, was noted by the small-cap companies, with a rise of 1.8 percentage points.

There is a marked difference between male and female-dominated industries. Companies in the Services and Consumer Staples sectors boast the highest proportion of women on their boards, while the Media & Entertainment and Healthcare sectors feature the highest percentage of female executives. The Commodities sector continues to note the lowest levels of women on company boards and in executive management positions, although levels in both cases have increased somewhat in the past year.

Background to the AP2 Women’s Index
Since 2003, AP2 has conducted an annual survey together with Nordic Investor Services to measure the number of women in middle management roles, in company management positions and on the boards of companies listed on the stock exchange. The 2014 survey comprised 252 premium and standard-listed companies on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. In addition, the number of women graduating from degree programmes that have traditionally served as a basis for recruitment to company management and boards has also been measured.

Read the report. (PDF document, 255 kB)

For further information, please contact:
Eva Halvarsson, CEO AP2, +46 (0)31 704 29 00 or Ulrika Danielson, Communications Manager, +46 (0)709 50 16 13.