Gaming and hospitality have historically been male-dominated industries with unconscious bias accounting for the gender gap in leadership.

One form of unconscious bias is affinity bias which affects recruitment, retention and the talent pipeline. Hiring managers show a marked preference for candidates to whom they can relate which plays a key role in many selection decisions. The perception is that leaders will hire like-minded individuals with similar leadership styles; so, a heavily male workforce will more than likely be maintained. Unconscious bias also affects the representation of women on boards and an active focus is required to create and/or increase diversity.

According to the ASX, the latest percentage of women on ASX200 boards is 29.5% (reported 31 October 2019). In New Zealand, figures released by the NZX show the percentage of women directors on listed company boards increased from 19.7% to 22% in 2018 – just four more women than in 2017 (reported February 2019).

There is growing evidence that a diverse workforce leads to tangible and positive impacts on culture and operations. Benefits include increased efficiency, productivity, innovation, creativity and improved employee engagement. A strategic focus on a diverse workforce needs to start at the top. The composition and makeup of a board must include women, so the organisation can start to see the benefits of diversity.

According to research from EY  “having a minimum of 30% women on your board will improve your profit margin.  The fact that the percentage of women on boards has progressed for seven straight years illustrates that organisations are taking action because they can see that it’s good for business. Improving diversity at the top can enhance an organization’s ability to innovate and develop a vision that appeals to its inherently diverse market.”

To promote and encourage women to apply for board positions within the gaming industry, and increase the number of females in leadership roles, it is crucial that the awareness levels for the availability for such roles is improved.


According to a study conducted by McKinsey, there are three key strategies to improve gender diversity on boards. Best practice includes:

Change your mindset

  • Make a visible commitment to diversity with sustained action throughout the organisation
  • Set new principles for decision making (e.g. include women on every candidate slate)

Expand your criteria 

  • Look beyond your current CEO or other members of the C-Suite
  • Consider candidates with the right expertise, not just those with prior board experience

Maintain an active pipeline

  • Expand your networks to include more women and explicitly ask search firms for female candidates
  • Cultivate long-term relationships with prospective candidates

Women in Gaming & Hospitality can advertise Board Positions to our member base, which will assist your organisation in reaching a wider talent pool of experienced women within our industry. To support and empower women progressing to board level, organisations must be pro-active in sponsoring, mentoring and influencing women’s career by providing them with exposure.

McKinsey also conducted a series of interviews with the CEOs and board chairs from a number of those standout companies in the S&P500 who they identified as top performers in board diversity, as well as some European businesses that have made similar progress. (See ‘Straight talk about gender diversity in the boardroom and beyond.”)


Becoming a board member within an industry organisation can provide women with valuable skills, experience and allow for diversity of thought at the table.

For women wanting to sit on a board, there are some great tools and resources you can access to provide you with information such as the Women on Boards free quiz to measure whether you’re board ready.

It’s also critical that individuals cultivate an extensive network, which according to the Australian Institute of company Directors, is critical. We recommend attending Women in Gaming & Hospitality events to develop your industry network. Our events are open to everyone with males encouraged to attend to assist network, sponsor and support women into senior roles.

Individuals can keep up to date with board related information and available roles by staying current with the following sources:

Individuals can also take a pro-active approach by letting their sponsor know they’re interested in accelerating their career with a board position.

Boards without gender representation, or those that stick to the status quo, risk being outperformed by their competitors.

When a board role is advertised within your organisation, we encourage you to send it to Women in Gaming & Hospitality, where we can advertise it on our Board Roles page as another source of promotion and visibility and help your organisation achieve a minimum of 40% women on boards.

Please see our industry statement on 40:40:20 representation for more information.