Launch of KIM board diversity and inclusion report

On Tuesday, 18th July 2017 saw the launch of the board diversity and inclusion report done by Kenya Institute of Management(KIM), supported by the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), Barclays Bank and the New Faces, New Voices Network.(NFNV).

Mr. Samuel Njihia from KIM presented the report that was collected from listed organizations as well as private companies. The report sought to explain why there is need for companies to not only diversify but to also include women, youth and citizens from marginalised areas to join the men at the decision making table.

The report scrutinizes the level of diversity in Boards and senior management of listed companies across a number of pillars including gender, age and profession.

Where we are

In 2014, we had 14% of women in boards compared to 21% now. a 70% growth. This can be attributed to advocacy by different lobby group and also structural changes in some companies. Below are the facts and where we stand

  • In Kenya, men in boards outnumber women by 4 to 1
  • Kenya has 21% women representation on boards
  • Men in chaiperson positions outnumber women 11 to 1 in Kenya
  • Women representation in senior management levels is at 26%
  • 61% of the female directors in 45-59years age bracket compared to 50% male directors in the same age bracket
  • Only 54 out of 467 directors are female (not including company secretaries)
  • 23 (40 %) listed firms have no female director
  • There are 4 female chairs out of 61 chairpersons
  • Insurance, energy, telecommunications and manufacturing have the most diverse boards (in that order) while manufacturing, agriculture and energy have the oldest board members
  • Average age of directors is 57 years ( and 65 for chairpersons )
  • Professional diversity is lacking with most companies recruiting lawyers, accountants or engineers
Age representation in the Kenya
  • Age 25-34    0.2%
  • Age 35-44    12.2%
  • Age 45-59      52.5%
  • Age 60+         35.5%

Why don’t we have women and youth in boards?

The lack of millenials in the boardroom poses a real risk not just to businesses but to society as a whole. Millenials aged 18-35 make up the world’s biggest demographic group and are expected to make up 50%  of the workforce by 2020. They are unknowingly dictating the direction of change-be it context of technology or business strategy and models- so it is essential for us to take their experiences, knowledge and expectations into account when making decisions on the direction of our own businesses.

Huffington Post May 2017

It has also been proven that companies that have high gender and ethnic diversity show an increase in the Return of Assets and the increase in return on investment.

Despite the slow growth, Kenya is at a place where the senior management are open to change.

Way forward

Companies have to make a deliberate move to nurture young people into leadership roles. Barclays Bank is among the few companies that have implemented programs for the youth and women, to prepare them for future roles. The Ready To Work program prepared university students for the job market through mentorship and capacity building.

Another program they have is She Trades. A platform that nurtures young female entrepreneurs through trainings, mentorship, connection to networks and markets for their products globally.

We hope other companies will follow through as millenials will take over the workforce in a few years.