Wage gap narrows between male, female directors - report


Wage gap narrows between male, female directors - report

There is still a pay gap between male and female directors, but a new report shows the wage gap is narrowing.

The Institute of Directors says the pay gap is 10 percent between the median fees earned by men and women working as non-executive directors. That's down from 21 percent in last year's report.

The median fee for a male non-executive director dropped slightly in the past year to $44,000, down from $45,000 last year.

In contrast, the median fee for a female non-executive director increased from $37,000 to $39,800.

"There are good economic arguments for getting the right skill mix, and gender, onto boards," says the Institute of Directors' chief executive Simon Arcus.

"Research shows even one woman on a board can enhance its performance. It's time to see the diversity statistics improve."

Although there is a narrowing pay gap between men and women, ethnic diversity also remains an issue.

“We still only have 2 percent of the directors that are Maori and that includes within Maori organisations and 0.8 percent of directors are Asian so while we doing well in gender we have a long way to go in other sorts of diversity.”

The Institute of Directors says non-executive directors' fees increased by 3 percent overall in the past year.

The median fee for a non-executive director rose from $41,610 in 2015 to $42,994 this year. For non-executive chairs, the median fees increased from $52,500 to $54,000.

Mr Arcus says the state sector continues to offer lower pay for directors than they are being offered by the private sector.

The median pay for a non-executive director on a public board is $26,000 compared to $38,000 for an unlisted private company and $80,000 for a company listed on the sharemarket.

A non-executive director is someone who serves on a board, but typically does not hold a full-time job within the organisation or company. In contrast, executive directors generally do hold a full-time position.

Non-executive directors attend an average of nine board meetings a year and on average, serve on a board for four years.

"What New Zealand needs is highly skilled, fairly remunerated directors. It's not enough to say there are plenty of directors lining up out there - New Zealand needs a focus on quality not quantity", Mr Arcus says.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents in the survey were satisfied with their current level of pay, compared to 50.6 percent last year.

Female non-executive directors comprised 29.7 percent of the people surveyed, up from 26.9 percent last year.

And the Fees Report shows the pay gap is closing between New Zealand and overseas owned companies.

Non-executive director pay in New Zealand owned companies increased by 13.5 percent from $37,000 to $42,000, while the fees paid by overseas owned companies increased by just $375 to $100,000 (from $99,625 in 2015).

The fees survey was conducted by the Institute of Directors in conjunction with Ernst and Young.