Diversity in the workplace

Written by Topco Staff Writer


Diversity in the workplace

ESG reporting Increasingly considered for investment decision making Refinitiv tracks the trend

Refinitiv reports that investors are increasingly considering companies that engage in ESG reporting as part of their investment decision making. Amongst other highlights, Refinitiv identifies five key gender metrics findings based on the ESG reporting of over 4000 companies in a five-year period (2013 – 2017) from all over the world including South Africa.

1. Investors consider companies which report gender metrics

Overall, on a global scale, we see companies more willing to report granular data on gender diversity than ever before. In the last five years, we have seen a 6% increase of companies reporting female manager numbers. Companies reporting female employee numbers is also seen as a positive sign for investors looking for transparency as now almost half of companies report on this metric globally.

Companies reporting gender metrics report that they have an average of 37% female managers and 52% female employees.

2. Changes at the top

While still significantly underrepresented, in the last five years there has been improvement among women at board and executive levels. Little has changed at lower employee level, however. The recent improvements at board and executive ranks reflect the increasing focus on gender diversity at the corporate leadership level, with a 5.57% increase in female executives between 2016-2017.

An analysis of the female composition of the workforce reveals the following:

  • Female board members averaged 13.35% in the 2017 financial year compared to 11.34% in the 2013 financial year;
  • Female Executives averaged 18.07% in the 2017 financial year compared to 12.17% in the 2013 financial year;
  • Female Managers averaged 26.41% in the 2017 financial year compared to 24.75% in the 2013 financial year; and
  • Female Employees averaged 34.92% in the 2017 financial year compared to 33.49% in the 2013 financial year.


3.The Corporate Ladder Gender Gap

There are still some significant barriers when it comes to promotion of women to more senior levels. In an ideal world, we would see comparable average percentages of female representation across all levels, but the reality is starkly different. Using female employee percentages as a baseline for comparison against board, executive and non-executive levels, the gender gap is substantial at all levels.

The Gender Gap:

4. Gender Diversity by Region

When comparing countries with the highest GDP, Japanese companies with female board members, executives and managers are conspicuously absent. It is also worth noting that six of the top ten regions have a deficit in female executives, meaning it could be a challenge to keep the board level diverse in the future if there isn’t a healthy pipeline of female executives to promote onto the board.

Female Representation for Six Countries:

Top Ten Countries with Highest Female Board Representation by GDP:

5. Gender Diversity by Industry

Our data shows that globally, gender composition of the workforce has changed over the years based on industry group. Although changes have been consistent in the top business sectors, we still see severe underrepresentation of female employees in industries that have been traditionally male dominated.

Top Five Business Sectors Ranked by Female Employee Percentage:

1. Drug and Food Retailing – 56.39%

2. Retailers – 55.90%

3.Insurance – 54.54%

4. Healthcare Services and Equipment – 51.51%

5. Banking and Investment Services- 49.42%


Bottom Five Business Sectors Ranked by Female Employee Percentage:

1. Mineral Resources – 15.39%

2. Automobile and Auto Parts – 17.73%

3. Chemicals – 19.73%

4. Applied Resources – 21.54%

5. Industrial Goods – 21.55%


Business Sectors Ranked by the 2017 Female Employee Percentage:

The financial sector represents two of the top five economic sectors by female employment with the banking and investment services being ranked at the top by female employees and managers.

Some improvements have been seen by female employees in the retail sector appears in the top five for female employees, female managers and female executives. Insurance, and healthcare services and equipment industries show high representation in female employees and female board members; however, the healthcare services and equipment industry has had a gradual decrease in female managers over the last five years.

Another area to keep an eye on is STEM industries. The technology and engineering economic industries are not represented in the top five business sectors based on female employees. The only STEM business sector that has more than 40% female employees is pharmaceuticals and medical research. STEM is an area which has received a lot of controversy and attention for their lack of gender transformation in recent years and we are yet to see if they fulfil their commitment to have more female representation in the near future.

The increasing focus on ESG by investors and the movement to regulation around sustainable finance means asset managers are needing more data and analytics than ever before to build sustainability into their investment strategy. We have highlighted some of the bright spots that investors can look at when deciding on industries and counties to make up their sustainable portfolio.

In addition, looking at emissions and CO2 production, one could answer the question which companies, industries and countries are positioning themselves for success in the transition to low-carbon economies. We then turn to waste, water, and the impact on biodiversity to see which nations are leading the way with recycling and protecting wildlife. Finally, we consider energy use and the impact of supply chain.

Some key findings that Refinitiv data has extracted include the following:

  • 63% of companies have a policy to reduce emissions (up from 56% five years previously); however, only 35% of companies have specific reduction targets around emissions.
  • Japan, Europe and Africa & Middle East have the highest percentage of companies reporting on target emissions. Asia is the region with the highest average CO2 emissions per company.
  • Hong Kong produced more than double the amount of CO2 per $ million revenue compared the closest polluting country and 17 times more than the lowest polluting country, France.
  • 78% of companies have resource reduction policies, however only 30% are putting tangible targets in place, and only 26% have both.
  • Over the last 5 years, we have seen a 25% increase in companies with water efficiency policies and 34% more companies setting specific water efficiency targets
  • The top 5 industry groups in terms of percentage of companies with policies on emissions are:
    • Automobiles & Auto Parts
    • Food & Drug Retailing
    • Telecom Services
    • Chemicals
    • Transportation

“This is a pivotal moment for capital markets and the role investors have to play in order to sustain and finance prosperous economies in the future. It is critical the industry promotes data transparency and standardization to empower and inform investors which companies are improving their impact on the environment and re-direct capital towards the winning sectors, companies and asset classes of the sustainable future,” said Global Head of ESG at Refinitiv, Elena Philipova.

About Refinitiv ESG

At Refinitiv, we strive to be the trusted and preferred partner for environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and solutions, and are committed to bringing to the market an array of best in class data, analytics and fully integrated workflow solutions. We understand the increasingly critical need for ESG information and the solutions we offer enable customers to act with confidence on consistently captured and standardized transparent information and insights. We have deep domain expertise and have been providing ESG solutions to the financial industry since the early 2000s.

Designed to help you make sound, sustainable investment decisions, our ESG data covers nearly 70% of global market cap and over 400 metrics.

Our ESG data is available through Eikon, Excel® add-in, Datastream®, Datastream Data Loader (DDL), QA Direct® and the Elektron Data Platform Cloud API.

For more information, visit us online at refinitiv.com/esg

Media Contact:

Sonwabise Sebata

Africa Head, Communications and Public Relations


[email protected]



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