Dr Elena Doldor, Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at QMUL’s School of Business and Management is co-author of the Female FTSE Board Report 2015​.

Excerpt from executive summary from The Female FTSE Board Report 2015:

This year we have seen significant progress on FTSE 100 boards. All-male boards have totally disappeared with Glencore, the last, appointing a woman to its board. The percentage of women on FTSE 100 boards is 23.5%, almost exactly where we predicted in last year’s report. This puts us on track to hit the 25% target by the end of 2015. The percentage of women in executive directorships on FTSE 100 boards is at an all time high of 8.6% with 24 women holding such roles.

FTSE 100

In the FTSE 100, Diageo and Intercontinental Hotels Group plc tie for first place with 45.45% women on their boards. Forty one companies in the FTSE 100 have now reached the 25% target. An analysis of 12 different sectors highlights both companies who have reached the 25% target and companies who have not, indicating that sector is not a barrier to the appointment of women directors.

FTSE 250
The percentage of women directors on FTSE 250 boards has also risen to 18%. Sixty five FTSE 250 companies have reached the 25% target but 23 still have no women on their boards. There are now 8 females holding Chairmanships of FTSE 250 companies. The percentage of women holding executive directorships has fallen back to 4.6%, the level we had in 2012.

March 2015 FTSE 100 FTSE 250
Female held directorships 263 (23.5%) 365 (18%)
Female executive directorships 24 (8.6%) 25 (4.6%)
Female non-executive directorships 239 (28.5%) 340 (23%)
Companies with female directors 100 (100%) 227 (90.8%)
Companies with at least 25% female directors 41 (41%) 65 (26%)

Strategies to Ensure Success in Meeting the 25% Target
The UK now ranks fifth in Europe and the world in terms of the percentage of women on its top corporate boards. We are on track to make the 25% target this year. Following interviews with senior business leaders, executive search firms and other subject experts, future action needs to focus on the following:

1. Build a sustainable pipeline of executive women.
2. Develop an agile working culture in which real meritocracy is nurtured.
3. Extend greater robustness and transparency in the board appointment process. Look at the suitability of women candidates outside of the corporate sector.
4. Ensure that women make more headway not only as NEDs but as Chairs, Senior Independent Directors and Heads of Nominations Committees. More work is needed on the development of board directors.
5. Many Chairmen champion gender diversity. This needs to be extended to CEOs and senior managers to develop the female pipeline.
6. Champions of change outside of business are also needed, such as the equivalent to the Davies Committee, the Government, media and researchers, to ensure that progress continues.

Female FTSE Board Report 2015

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