Report: Nigeria Corporate Organisations Lag Behind in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Dike Onwuamaeze
The Hofstede Insights (Nigeria) report has stated that the level of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the boards and management team of corporate organisations in Nigeria is still low and below international standards.

The report, which is titled, “Nigeria DEI Report: An Assessment of the State of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion amongst the Leading Companies in Nigeria,” said that the realisation of DEI concept “is still a major challenge in corporate Nigeria, with significant doubts whether meaningful changes will happen soon.”

The Hofstede Insights (Nigeria) DEI’s research team, studied the state of DEI in the composition of management team and board of directors in 148 leading companies in Nigeria under four key DEI parameters: gender diversity, age diversity, ethnic diversity and educational backgrounds.

The study, however, revealed that only 35 per cent of Nigeria’s leading companies passed the diversity, equity and inclusion test while 65 per cent of the companies failed the test.

The 10 top DEI compliant companies in Nigeria, according to the report, were Transcorp Hotels scored 76 points to emerge Nigeria’s best DEI compliant company while Africa Prudential and PZ Cussons came second and third with 75 points and 73 points respectively. The maximum point is 100 while scores below 50 points is failure. Others were Oando and Interswitch, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, Skyway Aviation Handling Company, Tran Nationwide Express, UACN and Portland Paints and Products Nigeria.

The Editor of the report, Dr. Ohechukwu Okere, said that the survival of mankind would depend largely on the ability of people who think differently, to act together, adding that “we considered diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and how organisational cultures support or hinder this. Culture impacts DEI in organisations and vice-versa. Well-managed diverse teams outperform their homogenous counterparts.”

On gender diversity, the reported stated categorically that men dominated the highest corporate positions in Nigeria. It stated that only 14 out of 148 companies had female CEOs or MDs while 39 companies did not have any women on their board; also 43 companies had no women on their executive management teams while 18 companies had no women on both their boards and executive teams.

It said: “Women made up around 12 per cent of executive teams and only eight per cent of boards in Nigeria’s largest companies. This development, of course, is quite far from the internationally recommended target of 40 per cent minimum female representation in leadership positions”

The report also revealed that Nigerian companies had poor ethnic diversity in the composition of their boards and executive management of companies. It stated that 54 per cent of individuals on executive positions in the country came from the South-west geopolitical region while persons from the South-east and South-south, accounted for 24 per cent and 18 per cent respectively. The other three regions, namely North-west, North-central and North-east accounted for only four per cent of corporate leadership.
“These re-echo the fact that ethnic diversity is still a significant challenge in the country,” the report said.

The report put the average age of corporate leaders in Nigeria at 54 years, with the youngest being 25 and the most senior, 95.
It said: “The greater percentage of individuals included in our analysis were between 45 and 60 years old, representing 64 per cent. Of the 148 companies included in the analysis, 44 had at least one executive member aged less than 40. Only 22 companies had a board member in that age range. Again, our study showed that medium and large companies outperformed small companies in terms of age distribution. The top three companies with the best age diversity scores are Conoil Plc, Oando and Skyway Aviation Handling Company.”

Educational background, according to the report, had the highest level of diversity under this parameter as 21 companies obtained perfect scores.

“It appears that educational qualification is a priority for the leadership of Nigerian companies. The greater percentage of executive and board members had more than one degree.
Furthermore, multinational companies had more DEI score than Nigerian-owned companies. Our study found that, on average, boards are comparatively more diverse than executive management teams

Only three sectors achieved a passing grade of 50 points and above on average. These sectors were the chemicals and plastics industry, the transport and logistics and the oil and gas sectors that scored 55, 54 and 52 points respectively.
The report recommended that Nigeria, which is one of the most diverse countries in the world, should have businesses that reflected this diversity in their workforce and C-suite.

It said: “While Nigeria’s leading companies excelled in producing educational diversity, they struggled with age distribution, ethnic mix, and gender balance. Gender parity seems to be the apparent concern for most organisations. However, providing opportunities to the less economically powerful ethnic groups in Nigeria is also a problematic issue, which organisations should tackle headlong.

“We agree that regulatory bodies could help improve DEI through various rewards and sanctions. The Nigerian Exchange, for instance, could regularly celebrate and showcase the high performing organisations as examples for others. The government could introduce a fine for corporate bodies that do not meet a certain minimum DEI score as identified in this report. They could use the proceeds from that surcharge to fund a programme to prepare persons from less powerful groups for corporate leadership positions,” the report said

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Publish date : 2021-11-26 02:35:25

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