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Housing, poverty, and income inequality top concerns

Media advisory

21 September 2018

Housing, poverty, and income inequality top concerns for New Zealand directors

A global survey of directors has revealed that 80% of New Zealand directors surveyed rate housing as their biggest concern.

“Housing, poverty, income inequality, and infrastructure are the top four most pressing social and economic worries for New Zealand’s directors,” chief executive of the Institute of Directors of New Zealand Kirsten Patterson said today.

“Eighty per cent of New Zealand’s directors ranked housing in their top three issues for our country and a real challenge, whereas globally only 34% of directors rated it as a one of their top three concerns.

“Sixty-seven per cent of New Zealand directors in the survey (67%) said they were most concerned about poverty and income inequality, compared to forty-five per cent (45%) of directors overseas.

“Fifty-six per cent (56%) of New Zealand directors ranked infrastructure as one of their big concerns. Whereas overseas, infrastructure investment was less of a concern, selected by thirty-four per cent (34%) of directors.

“Compared to their counterparts overseas, New Zealand directors are less worried about the cost of healthcare, and also less worried about taxation and government spending.

“Interestingly, on business confidence, 51% of New Zealand directors were mostly or very confident about their business or organisation. That’s encouraging.”

Three hundred and sixty-five (365) New Zealand directors responded to the global survey of directors, comprising 17 per cent of the total number of respondents. A total of 2,159 directors from 17 countries participated in the survey.

“This Global Director Survey 2018 is the first research of its type done by the Global Network of Directors Institutes. I’m proud that the survey was actually led out of New Zealand by the Institute of Directors of New Zealand,” Kirsten Patterson said.

See below for more findings from the Global Director Survey Report 2018.

Click here to see the full 43-page report.

The inaugural GNDI Global Director Survey 2018 ran over six weeks from mid-May to the end of June 2018. It is significant international research and essential reading for anyone involved in governance or on a board.

The survey spanned North and South America, Africa-Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Russia, Europe and the United Kingdom.

Most directors (36%) were on boards of private companies, 23% were on boards of listed companies and 22% were directors of not-for-profit organisations.

The survey was carried out by the Institute of Directors of New Zealand, on behalf of the Global Network of Directors Institutes (GNDI).

Directors from the following countries participated in the survey: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Gulf States, Hong Kong, Israel, Mauritius, New Zealand., Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, and USA.


The international findings from the survey are being released by the chair of the Global Network of Directors Institutes, Angela Cherrington, who is also chief executive of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA). Read below for her comments.

Directors worldwide concerned about poverty and income inequality

Globally the research taking the ‘pulse’ of board directors around the world shows directors are most concerned about the poverty and income inequality facing their countries.

“Taxation, government spending, and cost of health care are also weighing on the minds of directors worldwide as the most pressing social and economic issues for their countries,” said GNDI Chair Angela Cherrington.

The findings from the inaugural Global Director Survey 2018 by the Global Network of Directors (GNDI) representing 130,000 directors were released today.

“This international survey is significant, and the first time the Global Network of Directors has taken the pulse of directors worldwide in this type of survey,” Angela Cherrington said.

“We had a massive response to the survey – 2,159 directors from 17 countries participated. More than half (53%) sat on three to four boards which means they have a wide experience and broad insights.

“Of directors who responded, 36% were on boards of private companies, 23% were on boards of listed companies, and 22% were directors of not-for-profit organisations.

“The survey highlights that directors around the world share similar concerns and challenges as they look to the future for the organisations they govern. Social and economic concerns of poverty and inequality were important for 45% of directors in the survey.”

“Within the global picture, regional findings showed poverty and inequality were most concerning for governance communities in Africa-Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Taxation was the biggest concern for directors in the Americas. Directors in Europe were most concerned about the cost of healthcare.

Big Data top technological disruptor

“This first Global Director Survey ranked Big Data high on the global agenda as a potential disruptor – 63% of directors from around the world regarded Big Data as the top technological disruption to their organisations.

“Big Data is a term describing any large amount of data with potential to be mined for information.

“Though Big Data is on the governance radar, many boards are not taking advantage of Big Data to improve effectiveness, boost performance, mitigate risks and improve data privacy,” Angela Cherrington said. “There are immense potential benefits from data and data analytics, alongside equally significant privacy risks.

“Boards have a key leadership and oversight role in data governance. For a board to ask management the right questions and hold management to account, they need to understand and address data privacy and cybersecurity issues as they arise.”

“The Global Director Survey found that though 61% of directors had good or excellent understanding of their organisation’s data privacy practices, 37% felt they had limited or no understanding.

“Just over half (53%)of directors surveyed believed their boards understood cybersecurity and cyber-risks to their organisations.

Directors largely confident about business

“The Global Director Survey 2018 took a snapshot of directors’ business confidence. The survey found 45% of directors were “mostly” or “very confident” about prospects for growth over the coming year. Another 36% were “moderately confident” Private and listed companies were more confident than not-for-profit and government organisations.

“Ethnical behavior, health and safety and employee engagement were of particular relevance to directors.

Environmental issues rated lower in the survey, however, GNDI Chair Angela Cherrington expects that over time environmental issues will be more on the board radar.

“Wider environmental concerns can impact the sustainability of organisations long-term. The environment, climate change, carbon-related issues and resource management will become more important and part of the conversation for more countries as the Paris Accord and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals get more attention.”

“This survey helps us to understand the big challenges, opportunities and trends emerging globally for directors working with organisations around the world. Directors have a critical role in society as agents of good governance and as decision makers driving future investment and growth.”

“The Global Director Survey Report 2018 provides wide-ranging insights into the topics that are top of mind for directors worldwide, including social and economic issues and risks, business confidence, governance practices, technology and data governance.


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