There are many factors that influence gender parity on boards. One of these factors relates to the recruitment of board directors, and the policies and practices that underpin this process. There can be specific barriers to gender parity within the recruitment process:

  • Informal networks: Personal recommendations can result in candidates sourced through informal networks comprised of individuals similar in terms of background and gender.
  • Narrow searches: Traditional search processes are often restricted to traditional corporate pathways or sectors dominated by men.
  • Gender biases: Informal criteria and generalised assumptions regarding female attitudes towards board positions are often influenced by gender-based biases.
  • Process barriers: For government boards, searches conducted using QRON sometimes produce unsuitable candidates.
  • Legislative barriers: Statutory requirements governing the specific composition of the board (e.g. qualifications) may inhibit parity in industries that are male dominated.

While recruiters are not responsible for the appointment decision itself, they play a key role in identifying potential female candidates and can influence the candidate pool in various ways.

Action plans and supporting resources

The Action plan template for recruiters (DOCX) contains strategies to assist recruiters to identify board-ready female candidates. It is recognised that not all board positions are filled in the same way. The strategies have been identified in the context of a generalised 5-stage recruitment process, with the aim of identifying practical actions to help address the barriers identified.

As a recruiter, we recommend that you:

  1. Read and reflect on the suggested actions.
  2. Identify and prioritise the actions that will most impact your situation.
  3. Use the personal action plan to set your goals.
  4. Access the relevant supporting materials to help you take action.

Develop your action plan

Choose the stage at which you are in the recruitment process to see areas for reflection and suggested actions, and to link through to related resources.

Action plan guide

Recruiters can access support resources and advice available for each area of reflection.