Australia’s boards Anglo-Celtic, male: report

The composition of Australia's board members is mainly men of Anglo-Celtic background, a new report has found.
Composition of Australia's board members

A new report on corporate boards in Australia has found female representation has improved in 2023, but boards need to be “more inclusive”.

The independent report – from The Governance Institute of Australia and Watermark Search International – analysed key areas including age, gender, sexuality, and the cultural background of board members on more than 100 companies.

Composition of Australia’s board members

A board is a company’s governing body. Members (or ‘directors’) oversee things including strategy, finance, performance and management of a company.

The report analysed data from 123 ASX300 companies — an index of the 300 largest companies listed on the stock exchange.

It found while progress had been made in the representation of women on boards, there was “very little progress” in areas including cultural background and representation of LGBTQ+ or people with disability.

The gender of Australia’s board members

  • Since 2015, the number of board positions held by women has increased by 89%.
  • Female representation on smaller company boards fell from 44% in 2022 to 32% in 2023.
  • 13 boards have no female directors.

Age and tenure

  • The average age of directors is 62 for men and 59 for women.
  • The most common length of time a member serves as a board chair is 4 – 9 years.
  • On average, men stay on boards longer than women.

Cultural diversity

  • ASX300 directors with non-European backgrounds increased from 2.4% in 2017 to 6.6% in 2023.
  • There were more Anglo-Celtic board members in 2023 than in 2017 (91.2% compared to 90.5%).
  • First Nations people hold 0.3% of board positions.


  • The report identified four board directors who openly identify as LGBTQ+.
  • However, research by the Australian Association of LGBTQ+ Board and Executive Inclusion (ALBEI) shows there are as many as 20 LGBTQ+ directors in 2024.


  • Australians with disability represent about one-fifth of the population, but there is no reported data of any directors with disability on ASX300 boards.

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