Men in a meeting in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA


The latest survey conducted by Finnish Chambers of Commerce reveals that 71 percent of board members in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are male. The study sheds light on the demographics of board composition, with the average age of male board members being 53. The youngest board member averages 41 years old. The survey garnered responses from 788 company leaders across Finland.

The Central Chamber of Commerce encourages diversity when selecting board members, underlining that diversity often promotes corporate responsibility.

This year, the proportion of women in the boards of SMEs rose to 29 percent. Two years ago, in 2021, this figure stood at 25 percent, as indicated by the latest SME Board Barometer by the Chambers of Commerce. Notably, the proportion of women in SME boards aligns closely with small publicly listed companies, which feature 28 percent female board members.

The SME Board Barometer conducted by the Chambers of Commerce examines CEOs' perspectives and experiences concerning board activities in small and medium-sized enterprises. The survey is conducted biennially. This year's survey drew responses from 788 company leaders across Finland.

"It's worth noting that in large companies with at least 250 employees, the proportion of women among board members is 40 percent. This figure is slightly higher than the proportion of women on the boards of major publicly traded companies, which stands at 37 percent," highlighted Ville Kajala, Chief Specialist at the Central Chamber of Commerce.

In micro-enterprises (1-9 employees), the proportion of women among board members was 31 percent. Interestingly, whether the board consists solely of company leadership and owners or includes external members seems to have minimal impact on the gender distribution.

Average Age of SME Board Members: 53 Years

According to the survey, the average age of board members in SMEs is 53, whereas the average age for board members in publicly listed companies is 56. The youngest board member in an SME averages 41 years old. Notably, the age range of board members is most diverse in companies with at least 250 employees.

Kajala encourages Finnish companies of all sizes and industries to prioritize diverse board member selection:

"The diversity of skills, experience, and perspectives in a company's board supports its business operations, development, and effective governance. Sufficient diversity enhances the ability to welcome innovative ideas openly and fosters open dialogue. Diversity often contributes to corporate responsibility by taking various aspects into account during decision-making," emphasized Kajala.