Government Urges Companies to Increase Proportion of Women in Board Positions

As part of a new campaign focused on ensuring gender diversity in top positions among British organisations, the government has called for companies to increase the number of women who hold executive roles.

The recommendation stems from the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) Women Leaders Review’s first report on gender representation among board positions, which was published on 22nd February 2022. The FTSE Women Leaders Review replaced the Hampton-Alexander Review established by previous UK Prime Minister Theresa May in 2016. This independent, business-led organisation works with the government to improve gender equality and representation in leadership positions across the UK.

The FTSE 100, 250 and 350 are classifications referring to the largest UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, according to their full market value. The FTSE Women Leaders Review’s report included information pertaining to all three classifications.

The Hampton-Alexander Review concluded in 2021 after achieving its goal of increasing the proportion of women in board positions to at least 33 per cent. Now, the FTSE Women Leaders Review has recommended a new standard of 40 per cent.

Data shows that the percentage of women in board positions has increased dramatically in the past decade. Within FTSE 100 companies, women now hold approximately 40 per cent of executive roles, compared to approximately 12.5 per cent just 10 years ago. In fact, FTSE 100, 250 and 350 companies are all relatively close to the 40 per cent target. According to the FTSE Women Leaders Review’s report, the current proportion of women in these roles is as follows:

  • FTSE 100 companies—39.1 per cent
  • FTSE 250 companies—36.8 per cent
  • FTSE 350 companies—37.6 per cent

Still, the FTSE Women Leaders Review team says there is more progress to be made. After all, 72 members of the FTSE 350 are still under the Hampton-Alexander Review’s 33 per cent goal. Furthermore, while women make up 39.1 per cent of board positions among FTSE 100 companies, this demographic accounts for only eight CEOs.

The report specifically recommended that government officials urge FTSE 350 companies to have at least one woman in a top-four board position—such as chair, CEO, chief financial officer or senior independent director—by the end of 2025. Currently, nearly half (46.9 per cent) of FTSE 350 companies don’t have a single woman assuming any of the aforementioned roles.

‘We know there is much more work to do and no shortage of experienced, capable women, ambitious for themselves and their company across all sectors of business today’, the FTSE Women Leaders Review’s Chief Executive Denise Wilson said.






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