The Changing Face Of America’s Boardrooms

They’re more female and more ethnically diverse than ever before—and have more kinds of experience around the table. They’re also older, and the same industries continue to lag as did in the past. Those are the findings of a Corporate Board Member census of America’s corporate boardrooms. We compiled data from a variety of the best sources—including our own proprietary database—to provide a snapshot of where we are right now and where we’re probably going in the years ahead.

A decade-long push by investors and other groups is paying off when it comes to creating gender parity in America’s boardrooms. Expect that trend to continue—and accelerate. More than 45 percent of new directors were women this year—at both large-caps and Russell 3000 firms.

Despite calls for younger directors, America’s boardrooms are actually aging, with an even split among new seats being filled by those over 67 and those under 45—particularly surprising given the prevelance of mandatory requirement ages for directors.

The racial diversity of new directors in U.S. boardrooms continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than gender diversity. According to data from ISS. larger companies are taking the lead here, perhaps due to their sensitivity to public perception, as well as having the additional resources to recruit more effectively. Meanwhile, the expertise of directors continues to shift away from traditional specializations such as finance to areas like talent and technology, reflecting the shifting needs of business right now.

SOURCES

Corporate Board Member (Key 2019 Statistics; Male/Female Directors Table; Age of Directors Table)

Institutional Shareholder Services (Charts on Diversity, Skills, Gender, Female New Directors, Young Directors and Ages Overall)

Kaiser Family Foundation estimates based on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 2008-2017 (full U.S. racial/ethnic distribution).