FTSE 100 female board target reached early but “more to be done”

FTSE 100 female board target reached early but “more to be done”

A third of all FTSE 100 board members are now women, meaning a key target of the Hampton-Alexander Review has been met almost a year early.

This figure has increased from just 12.5% less than a decade ago. 

However, figures from the Review highlight a concerning lack of female representation in senior leadership and key executive roles in FTSE companies.

Whereas two thirds of companies have appointed a female human resource director, and four in ten have a female company secretary, only 15% of FTSE 100 finance directors are women.

The Review shows that further work is needed for many FTSE 100 companies individually, and for the FTSE 250 overall to meet the 33% target, as it currently sits at 29.5%.

Research produced exclusively for the Review by the Global Institute for Women Leadership at King’s College London also shows women facing everyday sexism in the workplace. 

Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said: “The Hampton-Alexander Review has done fantastic work.

“But it’s clear that women continue to face barriers to success, whether that’s through promotion to key roles or how they are treated by colleagues.

“Businesses must do more to tackle these issues and we will support them in doing so, including through our world leading reforms to workplace rights.

King’s College surveyed almost 350 men and women at board or executive committee level and found that a third of women reported someone at work had made disrespectful or insulting remarks about them, compared to 13% of men. 

More than one in five women reported that they had been shouted or sworn at by someone at work, compared to 16% of men.

CBI Director-General, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn DBE, said: “It’s great to see the FTSE 100 meeting the 33% target ahead of schedule, but the job is far from done. The whole FTSE 350 has to redouble its efforts to meet the Hampton-Alexander target by the end of the year.

“FTSE 100 firms may be speeding ahead in the boardroom, but they are making far less progress on senior leadership roles. We are still seeing too few women as the executive, day-to-day decision makers of our leading companies - whether that’s as CEOs, MDs, or finance directors. Companies must do everything possible to create inclusive cultures and support talented people from all walks of life into these top jobs.”

Professor Rosie Campbell, Director of the Global Institute for Women Leadership, King’s College London, said: ”Where there are hostile workplace cultures, we simply can’t ask women to lean in and try harder to reach leadership positions.

“Instead we need to ensure undermining behaviour is called out, not rewarded, and build an inclusive environment that embraces diverse leaders and allows everyone to thrive and give their best work.”

Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, said: “Equality is about much more than representation. Organisations in the top 25% for gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to have profits above their industry average.”

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