According to a government-backed analysis, women currently hold nearly 40 per cent of board posts at the UK’s largest companies.
According to the FTSE Women Leaders Review, 414 women served on the boards of FTSE 100 companies last year, up from 374 in 2020. However, the audit revealed a dearth of female executive directors.
Women held just 13.5 per cent of executive director posts in 2021, down from 14.2 per cent the year before. The findings, according to the government, show a “dramatic sea-change” in “attitudes toward getting women executives to the top table of business.”
Despite the fact that women held 45.7 per cent of FTSE 100 board posts in 2021, the survey concluded that 45.7 per cent of these positions were non-executive responsibilities, such as senior human resource jobs.
Non-executive positions accounted for 385 of the 414 women on boards. Last year, just 29 women occupied executive director roles at the UK’s largest corporations.
Denise Wilson, the review’s chief executive, has made fresh suggestions, including increasing women’s presence in FTSE 350 board and leadership roles to 40 per cent by 2025 and including the UK’s top 50 private firms by sales in the next review.
“While we continue to build on progress for women on boards, we need to firmly shift focus in this next phase to women in leadership roles at the top of the organization,” she said.
Unlike France, Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany, which have implemented quotas for women in executive and managerial roles, quotas for women in the UK are optional.
“On the surface, 39.1 per cent appears to be a beautiful figure,” said Dr. Grace Lordan, associate professor of behavioral science and creator of The Inclusion Initiative at the London School of Economics.
However, because there are so few women in senior positions, women are allocated responsibilities that are “lower in power” than males at FTSE 100 companies.
“We need to put the spotlight on positions of strategic importance like the chair, chief executive, and chief financial officer roles – not just the non-executive jobs”.
Despite the hurdles experienced in reacting to the epidemic, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng claimed that businesses have made “enormous progress,” but agreed that more should be done.
“While there has been remarkable progress at boardroom level, the report also shines a light on areas where there is still more to do,” he said.
Liz Truss, the Minister for Women and Equalities, said the government is striving to improve equality and would propose a number of measures to “address the obstacles that are holding women back as we try to guarantee that everyone can achieve their full potential.”
The accounting company KPMG, a co-sponsor of the study, stated that the “need to maintain momentum and continuously challenge” persists.
Bina Mehta, the UK chair of KPMG, believes it is “critical” to ensure that the “overflowing pipeline” of “well-qualified and talented” women leads to more women serving as “chairs, senior independent directors, chief executives, and chief financial operators.”
Fiona Cannon, group sustainable business director at Lloyds Banking Group, which also sponsored the research, said the company is pleased with the new goal of having at least 40% women on boards.
“There is no shortage of talented women; we need to ensure the opportunities are there for them to succeed, she added.
(Adapted from BBC.com)