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25 Percent Group Launches Voluntary Code of Practice

Embargoed until 8.30am, Thursday 29 November 2012

25 Percent Group Launches Voluntary Code of Practice for Board Recruitment

A voluntary code of practice aimed at increasing female representation on boards was launched in Auckland today by diversity advocates, the 25 Percent Group.

Drawn up in consultation with leading recruitment and executive search agencies, the Voluntary Code of Practice for Board Recruitment seeks to assist the appointment of suitably qualified women to board and senior executive positions.

The code draws on international research into the role of recruitment companies in supporting and promoting gender diversity.

The 2012 Gender Diversity on Boards report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found recruitment and executive search firms as key stakeholders in changing the landscape of women on boards through their role in identifying potential candidates for board positions.

Recruitment company signatories to the voluntary code have made a commitment to embed the provisions in their practice and pledged to ensure that when identifying candidates for board positions at least 25 percent on long lists will be women.

They have also committed to encouraging boards to include women among those short listed.

25 Percent Group Convenor and CEO of Goldman Sachs New Zealand, Andrew Barclay said the newly launched code challenges organisations to look more broadly when making board recruitment decisions.

“It does not make economic or commercial sense for us to continue to overlook the talents and experience of our total workforce when establishing boards or replacing board members.

“The Code aims to encourage boards to be more representative of the businesses, shareholders and consumers they serve. Greater diversity contributes to improved long term performance of individual companies and the economy in general,” Mr Barclay said.

A 2011 Goldman Sachs economic research report estimated that closing the gap between male and female employment rates would boost New Zealand's GDP by 10 percent. The report identified the lack of women in leadership, and on boards in particular, as an area requiring urgent attention.
Figures from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs show that women account for 14.75 percent of directorships of the country’s top 100 listed companies, up from 9.3 percent in 2010.

Minister for Women’s Affairs, Jo Goodhew, attending the launch of the Voluntary Code of Practice for Board Recruitment, applauded the initiative and said the Code was a positive step towards further advancing diversity in the boardroom.


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