PWC report says SA’s boards remain male and white

Boardrooms are still not representative of South Africa’s population, the report says.

PWC’s 14th edition of its Non-executive Directors’ Practice and Fees Trends report has found that South African boardrooms are still not diverse enough when measured by race, gender and age demographics.

According to the report, 48 percent of chairpersons are white, with black African non-executive directors coming in at 40 percent.

The report counted 2 106 non-executive directors serving on JSE boards and states that seven percent of non-executive directors are Indian or Asian while five percent of non-executive directors are coloured, a composition which differs from South Africa’s racial demographics.

The gender split is not much better, with 71 percent of non-executive directors on the JSE being male.

The report says the healthcare industry is the most equally represented, with 57 percent male and 43 percent female non-executive directors.

Another demographic investigated was that of age. The report found that the median age of South African chairpersons was in the sixties, with board members in the upper fifties. It urged boards of directors to reflect age dynamics when making board appointments to ensure diversity of views.

“This indicates a need for a greater focus on transformation within South African boards, and the consideration of age dynamics when assessing effective board functioning and making board appointments,” said the report.

It acknowledged that in the past, diversity of age had not been a major focal area and, since many boards equated age with experience, board members tended, typically, to be older.

However, the report found that “A mixture of young and old non-executive directors is important to ensure diversity of thinking and approach, and to ensure that boards are able to face the challenges of the digital age.”