AP2 finds large Swedish companies now have almost 38% female board representation

Influential investor has been conducting survey since 2003

Stockholm-listed large-cap companies now have 37.7% female board representation, according to Swedish state pension fund Andra AP-fonden’s latest Female Representation Index.

Since 2003 AP2, which has assets of SEK345bn (€33.6bn), has conducted an annual survey with Nordic Investor Services to track the proportion of women at listed companies.

This year the Index shows that the proportion of women represented on the boards of companies listed on NASDAQ Stockholm continues to increase and is now at 33.9% up from 32.2% in 2017.

The proportion of women in executive positions is also increasing from 21.7% in 2017 to 23.2% this year. Large-cap companies on NASDAQ account for the largest proportion of women on boards and in executive positions with 37.7% and 25.8% respectively.

Eva Halvarsson, CEO of AP2, said: “It is gratifying to note that 44.9% of newly elected board members today are women. At the same pace of change as the last five years, it will take 12 years for boards to comprise 50% women, and 24 years for 50% of executive positions to be filled by women.“I think it shows that nominating committees and companies are well on the way to achieving gender equality on boards and management, irrespective of legislation.”

The number of NASDAQ-listed companies with a female chair increased during the year from 19 to 28 representing a proportion of all chairs of 8.8%. The proportion of female CEOs increased a massive 80% from 15 to 27. As a proportion of all CEOs it is 8.4%.

Since 2002, the proportion of women in listed companies has increased from 6.1% to 33.9% while the proportion of women in executive positions increased from 11.1% to 23.2%.

Of the 320 companies in the survey, 243 have at least 25% women on board. The sectors financial services and consumer goods have the highest proportion of women in their boards, 38.6% and 36% respectively. The sector utilities and oil and gas have the lowest proportion with 11.1% and 22.5% respectively.

Last year, Sweden’s parliament rejected plans to introduce legislation that would fine listed companies who fail to appoint women to at least 40% of board seats.