Power Gap

The Gender Power Gap

A power gap exists in industries and organisation where there is a substantial difference between the proportion of female employees in non-management roles and those in more senior roles.

The community of organisations joining the Champions for Change movement is growing and becoming more diverse industry by industry. Once dominated by professional and financial services organisations, the community is now represented by industries such as motor vehicle, rail and construction. This is a signal of great change and an intent as well as investment by traditionally male dominated industries to create a new story for women in their organisations.

With that growing industry diversity – when we aggregate the representation of women across management level this year we find mixed results.

Overall Champions data has seen a drop is some management levels but we are still very close to achieving 40:40:20 representation of women across all 6 management levels.

Encouragingly we have seen a shift in women represented at Board level. This is significant and will pave the way for greater representation by women at all levels of organisations over time.

Representation of women across management levels.

Champions for Change have an objective to achieve 40/40/20 gender balance in all six management categories. The below shows the aggregate gender results for all Champion organisation in 2023 with a total workforce view.

Overall workforce participation by women, gender diverse and non-binary has reduced slightly (-1%) for the total workforce, however it is still over 40%. It is wonderful to see that participation in Board seats is up 2%, however Senior management has reduced by 6% (although still over 40%). Other Exec/GM has a drop of 3% meaning it is now under 40.

Founding Champions

Champion organisations that have been committed to 40:40:20 gender representation for 6 years have collectively achieved that stated goal in all but one category. This demonstrates the long term nature and often slow progress in achieving success in diversity across an organisation. These organisations have committed to a range of interventions over those 6 years including reporting progress every year and setting and tracking diversity targets.

Women on boards

Encouragingly, women representation on boards has increased across the international markets we monitor and Champions organisations are keeping track with that with a significant 2% increase this year to be at the threshold of 40% representation of women.

Champions organisations - women on boards

54% of Champion organisations have met the Champions goal of 40% of female board representation. This is a significant increase from last year’s figure of 40%. This is an encouraging trend and suggests a stronger focus from organisations on diversity around the board table with ESG reporting coming into effect as well as pressure from investors and stakeholders having an impact.

Ethnic Representation Across Management Levels

European ethnicities continue to be over-represented in Management and Senior Leadership positions while other ethnicities tend to be over-represented as Non-Managers. The good news is that this trend is changing with non-European ethnicities increasing their leadership representation year on year.


Champions continue to show the value of female leaders, outperforming the NZX in both women CEOs and women Chairs.

Champions for Change Gender Balance












Data Collection Methods

Data collection Methods Led and guided by their Champions for Change HR and executive teams, companies that reported in 2018- 23 used various models of data collection and it has been collected each year as at 31 March.

Industry data

Industry data was sourced directly from Stats NZ data.

Ethnicity Reporting

Twenty two categories of response were offered regarding ethnicity, based on an exact match to Level 2 of the Statistics NZ Ethnic Classification System. The ethnicities were then rolled into seven broad classifications based on the Statistics New Zealand model: European, Māori, Pacific Peoples, Asian, Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, Other and Prefer Not to Answer. The percentage was calculated for each classification based on the total number of employees, so a multi-ethnic employee would be counted as each selected ethnicity.