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FTSE 100 risks missing gender targets

Half of all new appointments to senior leadership roles at FTSE 100 companies will have to go to women next year if government-backed targets for gender diversity are to be achieved.

13 NOV 2019 | CHRIS SEEKINGS
More female leaders needed ©iStock
More female leaders needed ©iStock


That is according to the latest findings of the Hampton-Alexander review, which show that female representation in senior leadership roles has increased from 27% to 28.6% this year.

However, the researchers warned that the gap between companies working hard to improve gender balance and those that are doing little is “each year more obvious”.

They said that a “step change” is needed for companies to achieve the goal of having women represent at least a third of executive-level leadership teams by the end of 2020.

“We are still a long way from reaching the target," said Sir Philip Hampton, chair of the review. "Strengthening the number of women in executive positions is critical to achieving long-term gender balance.

“Unless half of all appointments made this year go to women – our target for 2020 is not going to be met.”

The review also found that women now hold 32.4% of all FTSE 100 board positions, up from 30.2% last year and just 12.5% in 2011.

Female representation at board level in FTSE 250 companies has increased from 24.9% to 29.6% this year, and is up from only 7.8% in 2011.

The researchers said that the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 are both on target to meet the 33% target for women on boards by the end of 2020 if the same rate of progress continues next year.

In addition, the review found that there are only two all-male boards remaining, down from five this time last year and 152 in 2011.

“Firms with diverse boards and management teams make better decisions, drive innovation and outperform their less diverse peers,” said Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association.

“Great progress is being made with women on boards, but it’s time for us to aim higher. 

“This pace of change now needs to extend beyond the board to senior executive leadership roles if businesses are to demonstrate their diversity at all levels.”


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