Diversity advocate group 25 Percent Group has launched a voluntary HR code of practice aimed at lifting female representation on boards and at senior executive level.
25 Percent Group convenor, and chief executive of Goldman Sachs New Zealand, Andrew Barclay said the code "challenges organisations to look more broadly when making board recruitment decisions".
"It does not make economic or commercial sense for us to continue to overlook the talents and experience of our total workforce when establishing boards or replacing board members.
A 2011 Goldman Sachs economic research report estimated that closing the gap between male and female employment rates would boost New Zealand's GDP by 10 per cent. It identified the lack of women in leadership, and on boards in particular, as an area requiring urgent attention.
Figures from the Ministry of Women's Affairs show women make up 14.75 per cent of directorships of the country's top 100 listed companies, up from 9.3 per cent in 2010.
The HR firms that have signed up are: Heidrick & Struggles, Hobson Leavy, John Peebles & Associates, Kerridge & Partners, Propero Consulting Limited and Sheffield.