The Cranfield School of Management has just published a report on the progress made against the targets set by the Davies Report. It seems that more women are now in the boardrooms of our largest companies and many companies are working to overcome the obstacles that women often face in reaching this level.
There are now 17.4% of FTSE 100 and 12.0% of FTSE 250 board positions filled by women. Ninety-two FTSE 100 companies and 170 FTSE 250 companies now have at least one woman on their board.
In the six months since the last progress report, the percentage of new appointments going to women in both the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies has risen, with 44.1% for FTSE 100 and 36.4% for FTSE 250.
The report has been written by Dr Ruth Sealy and Professor Susan Vinnicombe OBE.
While there is some improvement, there has been no change in the number of female executive directors. In fact in the 12 months to September 2012, of 22 executive directors, not one woman was appointed. Clearly, there is more to be done in this area.
Dr Sealy commented on the policies of boardroom diversity of FTSE 100 companies and found that 60% of 92 reports now have a clear diversity policy and 47% of the reports have measures in place to encourage women to reach senior positions and18% had measurable objectives in place. A few companies get a mention for their achievements in this area: Angle American, BAE Systems and Standard Chartered. These companies had objectives not just on numbers but on processes to achieve the numbers.
Dr Sealy went on to say: “The fact that a significant percentage of FTSE 100 companies already have clear diversity policies and have set and disclosed targets shows we have come a long way. This proves that the UK’s voluntary, business-led approach is having a positive impact. There is still a long way to go but the culture of the boardroom is changing.”
Commenting on the progress report Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE said: “Over the last 18 months we have seen hugely encouraging progress in the number of women recruited to the boardrooms of UK companies. The hard work and commitment of Government, business, investors, executive-search firms and training providers is really paying off. I am deeply grateful for their united efforts in keeping this issue alive and bringing about the very real culture change that has begun to take place at the heart of business. The rate of change has been impressive, but of course there is much more to do and we can’t afford to be complacent. The pressure must be maintained if we are to ensure that this change is for the long-term.”
Cranfield School of Management was asked by the Government to review the progress of the recommendations made in the Lord Davies Women on Boards report which was published in March 2011. This is the second monitoring report, the first was published in October 2011.
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