News: Hong Kong's gender disparity: Only 8% of CEOs are women, Australia & New Zealand lead with 15%


Hong Kong's gender disparity: Only 8% of CEOs are women, Australia & New Zealand lead with 15%

8% of global CEOs today are women, but APAC is ahead of the curve with 12% of CEO appointments being women.
Hong Kong's gender disparity: Only 8% of CEOs are women, Australia & New Zealand lead with 15%

In an ever-changing world, organisations face transformative shifts that demand adaptation and the redefinition of leadership strategies for success. Heidrick & Struggles, a provider of executive search, leadership assessment, and development services, unveils recurring trends in CEO appointments via its 2023 Route to the Top data. 

This highlights a strategic method in selecting leaders amidst the swiftly evolving global landscape. The yearly analysis scrutinised 1,221 CEO appointments within the largest publicly listed companies worldwide and their respective profiles. 

Notably, between 2022 and 2023, there were 225 appointments within the APAC region, encompassing markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. “Amidst the dynamic global landscape, our data highlights the continued stability in CEO appointments across the APAC region,” said Jiat-Hui Wu, Partner-in-charge at Heidrick & Struggles Singapore. 

“Organisations are strategically identifying experienced leaders with diverse backgrounds and cross-border experience, recognising their ability to navigate complexities across multiple geographies and drive innovation across various business lines. The cross-border experience is increasingly important as Singapore companies look to expand beyond their home market,” added Jiat-Hui Wu. 

More women are assuming CEO roles, as evidenced by a slight uptick in gender diversity among CEOs globally, with 8% of appointments going to females. Notably, the APAC region is making strides in gender parity, with 12% of CEO appointments being female. 

Australia and New Zealand lead the charge, with 15%, nearly double the global average. In contrast, Hong Kong lags behind, with only 8% of appointed CEOs being female, attributed partly to the dominance of traditionally male-dominated industries. 

This underscores the ongoing efforts required to advance gender diversity and cultivate inclusive workplaces. There is a growing preference for CEOs with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience across sectors and regions. 

In Australia and New Zealand, 32% of CEOs boast cross-sector experience, surpassing the APAC average of 25%. Moreover, 44% of appointed CEOs in this region have cross-border experience, slightly above the APAC average of 38%. 

Singapore leads in this regard, with 47% of appointed CEOs having cross-border experience, surpassing the global average of 34%. In Hong Kong, there is steady growth in appointing CEOs with comprehensive expertise across markets. 

Data indicates that 28% of appointed Hong Kong CEOs have cross-border experience, while 19% have cross-sector experience. “Our research underlines the growing importance of CEOs who have diverse backgrounds and international exposure, in order to navigate challenges and drive innovation in today’s globalised business landscape, given the volatile environments driven by geopolitical tensions and the evolving ways of working,” stated Rodney Ng, Principal at Heidrick & Struggles Hong Kong. 

“When appointing CEOs, many organisations often look at the candidates’ ability and experience to deal with international matters. Incoming CEOs should be able to understand global complexities and adapt to local context,” added Rodney Ng. 

Diverse trends in CEO appointments are shaping the leadership landscape in the APAC region. Companies in APAC exhibit a preference for cultivating internal talent, with Singapore leading in internal appointments (77%), while Hong Kong sees the lowest share of external appointments (21%). 

In terms of prior experience, Hong Kong companies are more open to hiring CEOs without prior C-suite experience (34%), whereas Singapore prefers experienced CEOs, with 90% having prior C-suite experience and 83% having previously served as CEOs. 

Australia and New Zealand also prioritise experience, with a higher share of CEOs having prior CFO (32%) and COO (28%) experience compared to regional averages. 

Interestingly, Hong Kong places less emphasis on age, leading in appointments of CEOs under the age of 45 (33%). Conversely, Singapore favours older, more experienced CEOs, with the current age of appointed CEOs being the highest across APAC at 57.2 years.

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Topics: Leadership, Diversity, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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