The Executive Search landscape is forever changing; immigration rates, interest rates and COVID-19 acting as key shifters in recent times. Simultaneous with these changes is the evolving attitude towards diversity, inclusion and executive remuneration within leading Australian firms and their boards.
Aon and Governance Institute of Australia’s latest annual Board & Executive Remuneration Report collates survey and annual report data from these leading employers in the Australian market. This article share from the Governance Institute of Australia captures the important remuneration and board composition trends highlighted within the report; remuneration trends benefiting the sectors we at Greenfields Recruitment & Search specialise in.
THIS ARTICLE’S KEY BOARD AND EXECUTIVE FINDINGS FOR 2022:
- Remuneration for directors and executives/senior managers is expected to increase this year
- Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors now have an increased influence on the remuneration of those holding senior roles
- ASX300 firms lead the broader market in female board representation
- Top challenges for today’s corporate boards include digital transformation, cyber security and more
Industry Findings for Executive Remuneration
The third report in the series, the Aon and Governance Institute of Australia report surveyed 528 organisations, including 293 listed companies from the ASX300, and also draws upon annual report data.
When examining the organisations that participated in the survey in 2022 and 2021, the average annual increase to senior executives’ remuneration ranged between 1.7% (fixed remuneration) and 3.2% (total remuneration). CEO fixed pay climbed by just 1.1% on average.
For board members, there was a 8.8% increase and for chairs, a 10.7% increase.
And it appears after last year’s COVID-induced hit to the hip pocket that some optimism is emerging with 58% of the participating organisations expecting that pay rates for directors and executives/ senior managers will increase this year.
Insights from Industry Leaders
Governance Institute of Australia CEO Megan Motto said the executive remuneration market seems to be in a state of subdued catch up after a sluggish year in 2021.
“Last year there were very few meaningful salary increases and it’s clear that low wage growth remains,” Ms Motto said. “But with almost 60% of the organisations expecting to boost executive pay in the next 12 months, it seems some optimism is returning.
“And as the war for talent continues, there may be some further pressure on salaries. Getting the right person for these top jobs in critical and remuneration is a key factor for candidates.”
Aon’s Head of Executive Compensation Zoe Lockyer said the report provides an important snapshot of remuneration trends which in turn reflects the complex prevailing market sentiment, driven by uncertainty and increasing volatility in many areas.
“Currently we are seeing multiple domestic interest rate increases, skill shortages, supply chain issues, global political instability, low immigration and ongoing disruptions from COVID-19 having an impact on the focus in boardrooms on remuneration,” Ms Lockyer said.
“Organisations are finding they must balance these external pressures with sustaining a committed, high performing and well-remunerated workforce. While the great resignation hasn’t played out as predicted, building a resilient workforce and rewarding employees includes a strong remuneration program.”
ESG and Diversity
In line with society’s shifting attitudes, ESG factors are increasingly coming to the fore when salaries are being set with the report finding that 74% of organisations consider shareholder and community expectations when deciding remuneration for company executives.
Female representation on boards was also examined with 27% of the NFPs reporting that more than 50% of their directors are female, compared to 18% of the organisations from the broader market.
The report also examined board composition, the number of meetings held, remuneration for the various types of board committees and the likely future challenges.
Digital transformation, cyber security, changing regulatory environment and changes to work/organisational practices were rated as the top challenges for boards.
About Greenfields Recruitment & Search
GREENFIELDS RECRUITMENT & SEARCH is a specialist In-House Legal Counsel, Company Secretary and Corporate Governance Executive Search & Recruitment firm. We connect company secretary leaders with organisations who require company secretary services. Partnering with a diverse range of clients, from ASX listed organisations, non-listed organisations, multinationals, boutiques and not-for-profits across all industry sectors. Learn more about us here.