Glacial pace of change
Fewer women in the P&U boardrooms in 2015
EY is tracking the number of women in the boardrooms of the top 200 global utilities by revenue. In the 2015 Women in P&U Index, we analyzed the top 200 utilities to determine who had the most women in positions of influence on the board and the senior management team (SMT). And unfortunately, the overall number of female board members is down from last year.
Right now in P&U, women only account for:
We have noted some exceptions to this overall trend. The number of female board executives has increased from 4% to 5% — this is encouraging as these are the roles with influence, strategy and profit and loss (P&L) responsibility. Twenty utilities in the global top 200 have one female board executive, and two notable utilities – China Power Resources and YTL Malaysia – have two.
It’s also heartening to see the number of women in SMTs rise from 12% last year to 13% this year. Such roles provide a CEO training ground for women and a pipeline of future leaders. The utilities with the highest number (five or more) of women on their SMTs were:
- BC Hydro (Canada)
- CLP Holdings (Hong Kong)
- CMS Energy Corp (US)
- Dominion Resources (US)
- Empresas Públicas de Medellín (Colombia)
- Manila Electric Co. (Philippines) – the overall leader with 8 women on an 18-member SMT
- NRG Energy (US)
- Singapore Power Ltd (Singapore)
But let’s not sugar-coat the results. The fact is that, this year, the percentage of women in the boardrooms of P&U companies has decreased. The number of non-executive directors has decreased as well.
The sector can’t afford to go backwards. For utilities to reap the rewards of more diversity in the boardroom, change has to take place more quickly.
So what should the industry be aiming for? We believe gender parity in the boardroom is from 30% to 40%. That’s where companies begin to realize the financial benefits linked to gender diversity.