Research

As part of our ongoing efforts to advance gender diversity in senior corporate governance, we issue a biennial report on the number of women serving on boards and in top management of publicly traded companies in New Jersey. This report, developed in partnership with PwC, is the only one of its kind in the state.

Please click below to read the full 2017 report.

2015 Report

 

2015 Report

Key Statistics

  • Of 900 board seats in 95 companies, women held 152, or 16.9%. This is an increase in women board members over 2015, when women held only 15% of seats.
  • The 19 NJ Fortune 500 companies within the NJ Russell 3000 did slightly better, with 51 of 216 board seats, or 23.6%, filled by women. This is an increase over 2015, when women in these companies held 22.3%.
  • 21 of the 95 companies, or 23.2%, had no women directors. In 2015, this was true of 25%.
  • All of the 19 NJ Fortune 500 companies in the Russell 3000 had at least one woman director. This was also true in 2015.
  • Only one of the 95 New Jersey companies in our sample has reached 50% board membership for women. American Water, whose CEO Susan Story, was featured in our 2015 report, has surpassed this mark, with women holding 55.6% (5 out of 9) of board seats.

Why Gender Diversity Matters

  • Companies with at least one woman director had better share price performance than those companies without women for the last 6 years.
  • The Credit Suisse report compared companies with less than 10% women in senior management to those with 15% or more and found a 52% higher return on equity and a 22% higher ratio of dividend payout for companies with more women in the ranks of senior managers.
  • Companies with more women on their boards not only have stronger financial performance but also fewer governance-related issues such as bribery, corruption, shareholder battles, and fraud according to research by State Street Global Advisors, one of the largest investment management firms in the world.
  • The appointment of women-directors is associated with earlier adoptions of practices such as director training, board evaluations, and director succession planning structures.

Recommendations for Change

  • Companies must commit to including at least one woman for consideration on every slate.
  • Boards should utilize a skill set inventory to identify gaps in knowledge not covered by existing members.
  • Board directors should identify senior and mid-level women in their companies who have the potential to serve as board directors.
  • Boards should adopt strategies to minimize bias in the selection and evaluation of board candidates.
  • Companies should adopt strategies to refresh their boards.
  • Companies should consider adopting transparent governance principles like those endorsed by the Investor Stewardship Group.

This summary represents only a small fraction of the compelling information and enlightening statistics EWNJ uncovers in this year’s report.