All-male boards dwindling in real estate

All-male boards dwindling in real estate

Monday, February 26, 2024

All-male boards have become scarcer across the 128 real estate companies represented in MSCI’s all-country world index (ACWI), but women still fill fewer than 30 per cent of board seats in the majority of cases. Newly released results from MSCI’s 15th annual progress report show that real estate made the best year-over-year progress in shedding womanless boards among the 11 industry sectors tracked in the index. Just 8.6 per cent of boards excluded women in 2023 versus 14.8 per cent in 2022.

Across the entire index of 2,868 constituent companies, women gained slightly more presence in board rooms and C-suites last year. In 2023, they filled 25.8 per cent of all board positions and accounted for 6.5 per cent of chief executive officers (CEO) and 18.8 per cent of chief financial officer (CFO).

Real estate has a slightly higher proportion of women in the C-suite, equating to 7 per cent of CEOs and 19.5 per cent of CEOs. Women directors account for less than 30 per cent of the membership on 47 per cent of real estate boards; they compose 30 to 40 per cent of membership on 28 per cent of boards; and fill more than 40 per cent of seats on 16.4 per cent of boards.

None of the all-male real estate boards meet in Canada or the United Kingdom since neither country makes the list of 23 nations where all-male boards are domiciled. As well, there is just one all-male board in the United States, representing 0.2 per cent of 597 U.S. companies in the index All-male boards account for the highest proportion of companies in Quatar (92.3 per cent), Saudi Arabia (71.4 per cent), Indonesia (50 per cent) and Kuwait (43 per cent), while, in sheer numbers, they are most likely to be found in China (146), Saudi Arabia (30) and Taiwan (15).

For the first time in 2023, the progress report gauges CEO gender pay equity, factoring base salaries, stock awards and bonuses. “Despite the disproportionate CEO-gender ratio (165 female CEOs to 2,255 male CEOs), base salaries and stock awards were aligned between the genders, suggesting pay equity at the CEO level,” MSCI analysts observe.

That said, roughly 15 per cent of companies in the index did not disclose pay data. Among those reporting, male CEOs, on average, received slightly higher bonuses and option awards. Average annual renumeration across the index is pegged at USD $6.3 million for women and USD $6.5 million for men. Drilling down to real estate, five women CEOs were paid, on average, USD $500,000 less than male counterparts.

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