Appoint more women leaders, urges new report

Almost one in four companies in the FTSE 350 have only one woman on their board, and there are still five all-male boards, according to new research, published today.

The Hampton-Alexander Review’s 2018 report reveals the top 100 companies which make up the FTSE 100 index are on track to hit the target of women holding one third of board level positions by 2020. Currently, there are more than 30% of board positions occupied by women, says the report. This has risen from 12.5% in 2011.

However, in the FTSE 350 almost one in four companies have only one woman on their board, and there remain five all-male boards. To meet the target, half of the appointments to board level will now have to be filled by women over the next two years.

Chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review Sir Philip Hampton says: “Over 100 FTSE 350 companies have already achieved – or exceeded – the 33% target for women on boards, with a further 50 companies well on their way. At the same time, too many companies still have a long way to go.”

In the FTSE 100, there are four companies – retailer Next, online real estate provider Rightmove, financial services provider Hargreaves Lansdown, and household goods and construction company Taylor Wimpey – which have 50% or more women on their boards. The report found that six FTSE 250 companies have met the same threshold.

The report also shows an increase in the number of women in FTSE350 leadership positions just below the board, with FTSE 100 Executive Committees at over 21% women for the first time.

However, there is still a long way to go. In May this year, the review revealed some of the worst explanations firms have made for not having women among their top employees. These explanations included suggestions that women are not able to understand the ‘extremely complex’ issues FTSE boards deal with and the idea women do not want the ‘hassle or pressure’ of sitting on a top board.

  • How can employers avoid a culture of sexism in the workplace? Read more here.
  • Checklist – Three ways to resolve gender inequality at work. Read more here.
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