A study by Praxis Center for Policy Research shows that the company boards in Estonia do not reflect social diversity and although there are more highly educated women in Estonia today than men, they are underrepresented in the boards of major companies. To mark the first ever Diversity Day in Estonia, Praxis has released a study on diversity in company boards. The results show that these are dominated by Estonian-speaking men.

However, more diversity could lead to better results, said analyst Mari Rell, one of the authors of the study. “Companies that have both men and women, and people from different age groups in their boards, earn higher profits,” she explained, adding that this is, nevertheless, only the case if diversity is well managed.

Praxis analyzed data from nearly 25,000 companies, comparing it to the results of the 2011 census. The study took into account five factors: gender, ethnicity, age, health and religious beliefs.

It found that the boards of major companies are more diverse than small companies in terms of the last four, but more homogenous when it comes to gender. According to gender data, only 45 percent of companies in Estonia can be considered diverse.

At the same time, the female board members have better education. Whereas 70 percent of female board members have higher education and 27 percent have secondary or vocational education, the numbers are 55 and 40 respectively for men. In the society as a whole, 37 percent of women and 26 percent of men have a university degree.
Only 9 percent of company boards display ethnic diversity. The vast majority comprise only of ethnic Estonians or people of different ethnicity.

Source: Study: Lack of diversity in company boards, ERR