Report shows increase in number of women on FTSE 100 boards

November 8, 2013

A progress report, co-authored by Dr Ruth Sealy (pictured, left) from City's Department of Psychology and published by Cranfield School of Management, shows that women now account for 19 per cent of FTSE 100 and 15 per cent of FTSE 250 board positions.

The progress update was launched today by the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Minister for Women and Equalities. It shows that since Lord Davies' report (see box, right), the percentage of female appointments to FTSE boards has increased, although the pace of change has varied. In the last six months 27 per cent of FTSE 100 and 30 per cent of FTSE 250 new appointments went to .

The report also looks at the progress FTSE 350 companies are making in adopting the new recommendations in the Corporate Governance Code 2012, which requires them to publish by the end of their current financial years how they plan to implement their boardroom diversity policy.

The report shows that nearly all (94%) FTSE 100 companies now acknowledge the need for greater boardroom diversity and two-thirds (65%) state a clear policy to achieve this. However, less than half (42%) opted to disclose any measurable objectives they had in place to increase the number of women on their board and only a quarter (27%) address diversity in their board evaluation process. Overall, there is little change in diversity reporting by the FTSE 100 companies, compared with early adopters of the Code reported on last year.

The picture appears to be worse among the FTSE 250. In a sample of 50 companies, while 82% recognise the need for greater boardroom diversity, only 18% state a clear policy and just 14% have set measurable objectives, although almost a quarter (24%) do address diversity in their board evaluation process.

Dr Sealy, commented: "It is disappointing that a significant proportion of companies have not yet fully responded to the new Code provisions on reporting gender diversity. Nevertheless, our research did uncover a number of excellent examples of companies that get it right when it comes to reporting on diversity, including Diageo, Rolls Royce, Experian and BAE Systems, in the FTSE 100, and WS Atkins in the FTSE 250. They all had clear objectives not just on numbers, but also on the processes to achieve those numbers".

Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller said: "Women are vital in building a stronger economy and we need to make sure we are making full use of their talents. We have made significant progress in removing barriers which prevent those that choose to work from achieving their full potential, but what we also need to see is business embracing a wider cultural change."

The report from the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders at Cranfield School of Management is co-authored by Dr Ruth Sealy, Caroline Turner and Professor Susan Vinnicombe OBE.

The findings of the report were announced this morning at an event hosted by the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Minister for Women and Equalities.

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