More women than ever before are rising to the most senior positions in UK business.
A recent update from the Hampton-Alexander Review showed that firms in the FTSE 100 are on track to meet the target of 33 percent of women board members by 2020. The target, set by the independent review and supported by the UK government back in 2016, was created to increase the number of women at the very highest levels of UK business. The most recent July update showed that 27.5 percent of FTSE 250 board positions are now occupied by women, this has increased from 24.9 percent three years ago.
Current figures suggest that if progress continues at the same pace over the next few months, FTSE 100 companies will meet the 2020 target. Today, 32.1 percent of all FTSE 100 board positions are held by women. This number has increased by 12.5 percent since 2011.
However, not all organisations are keeping up with the competition. There are still fourteen companies who have not responded to the report or who have just a single woman on their board. There are four organisations who currently have an all-male board.
Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst shared her thoughts on the results:
“These latest figures show there are now more women than ever before at the top of UK business, and I want to see companies do all they can to increase the numbers further. Diversity makes good business sense and those who fail to see this as a priority are missing out on the benefits that diverse leadership brings.”
In March 2019, the Investment Association (IA) and the Hampton-Alexander Review jointly wrote to those companies who were falling short of the target. They approached 69 companies in the FTSE 350 who had one (or no) woman on their board and shared their concerns. They asked organisations to respond with the actions they intend to take in order to address this shortfall.
Gender diversity is certainly moving in the right direction when it comes to the biggest names in the UK economy but there is still work to be done. More diverse boards equal more creativity and innovation in business, something that is a positive outcome for every industry.