Number of women in power and utilities board positions rises just 1% in last three years

- Globally, there are only 25 women board executives in the top 200 utilities

- Women occupy just 16% of board member positions in the sector

- Most gender-diverse utilities outperform least gender-diverse on return on equity

07 Mar, 2016, 07:58 ET from EY

LONDON, March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Gender parity progress is painfully slow in the global power and utilities sector with the number of women in board positions rising just 1% in the last three years, according to EY's annual Women in Power and Utilities Index 2016 (Index).

2016 ranking

Company name

(2015 top 20 ranking)

Country

Diversity score

1

China Resources Power Holdings Co. (9)

Hong Kong

3.40

2

Sempra Energy (3)

United States

2.73

3

ENGIE (4)

France

2.60

4

Duke Energy Corporation (2)

United States

2.53

5

EnergyAustralia

Australia

2.40

6=

CMS Energy Corp.

United States

2.00

6=

Eneco Holding

Netherlands

2.00

6=

Eskom Holdings (1)

South Africa

2.00

9=

Ameren Corporation (5)

United States

1.87

9=

Gazprom (11)

Russia

1.87

9=

National Grid plc

United Kingdom

1.87

12

National Grid USA

United States

1.80

13=

DONG Energy AS

Denmark

1.73

13=

YTL Corporation Berhad (8)

Malaysia

1.73

15=

American Electric Power Co. (16)

United States

1.67

15=

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (15)

Colombia

1.67

17=

Acquirente Unico

Italy

1.60

17=

Statkraft (7)

Norway

1.60

19=

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company

United States

1.53

19=

MDU Resources Group

United States

1.53

 

The Index — which identified the largest 200 utilities by revenue and ranked them according to representation of women in executive positions — found only 25 women in board executive positions globally (5%). Research also shows women occupy just 19% of non-executive board positions and 14% of senior management team (SMT) roles. The proportion of women in SMT roles was the only statistic to increase each year from 12% in 2014 and 13% in 2015.

With 345 women out of a total 2,149 positions (16%) currently in board roles it will take 515 more women appointed to reach just 40% representation. And to grow from the existing 5% women in board executive roles to 10% requires another 24 women be appointed.

Alison Kay, EY's Global Vice Chair ‒ Industry, says:

"At the current rate of progress, it will take 72 years to reach 40% women on boards in the power and utilities sector. That's too long. Companies must address what's holding them back from better diversity at the boardroom table — especially when research into the top 200 utilities shows the most gender-diverse outperformed the least gender-diverse by 14.8% on return on equity."

Regionally, the Americas have the highest percentage of female board executives (led by Latin America with 9%), followed closely by Europe (7%). These regions also top the list for the percentage of women in non-executive board roles. Asia-Pacific had the lowest percentage of women board executives at just 3%.  

"While diversity comes in many forms — such as age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and nationality — ensuring women are present at the boardroom table is an important starting point for utilities. International Women's Day is celebrated tomorrow and research like this highlights that it's time to take action and to put gender on the agenda," says Kay.

Notes to Editors

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About EY's Global Power & Utilities Sector

In a world of uncertainty, changing regulatory frameworks and environmental challenges, utility companies need to maintain a secure and reliable supply, while anticipating change and reacting to it quickly. EY's Global Power & Utilities Sector brings together a worldwide team of professionals to help you succeed — a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The Sector team works to anticipate market trends, identify their implications and develop points of view on relevant sector issues. Ultimately, this team enables us to help you meet your goals and compete more effectively.

For more information, please visit ey.com/powerandutilities.

About the report

EY research identified the 200 largest global utilities by revenue and investigated the number of men and women on the board of directors and the senior management teams. Information sources included company websites, annual reports and disclosures, secondary sources and databases and data gathered directly from the company by email or telephone. The research was conducted in December 2015 and represents a snapshot accurate at that time.

To create the Women in Power and Utilities Index 2016, EY ranked utilities using a weighted index that favored women in executive positions. Executive board members received the highest weighting, followed by SMTs, non-executive board members/independent directors, business unit leaders and audit.

Sarah Shields
EY Global Media Relations
+44 (0) 20 7951 6563 
sshields1@uk.ey.com

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