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WOMEN ON BOARDS COMMENT FROM KORN/FERRY

WOMEN ON BOARDS COMMENT FROM KORN/FERRY

In response to Lord Davies’ progress report six months on from his review on gender diversity in the boardroom, Richard Emerton, Head of Korn/Ferry’s Board Practice, EMEA, comments:

“While companies have not yet achieved the 30% target set out in the code, there is some evidence that the code has made a positive difference in board diversity, with 22 per cent of all FTSE 100 board appointments going to women since the report was published.

“There are two main issues that need to be addressed: demand and supply.  To address demand, it is important to understand that companies rightly want the best board they can get, whatever its make-up. So to drive real cultural change, boards and investors need to be convinced that more diversity in their leadership team can add value to the business. Consolidated evidence that introducing greater diversity, in the right way, brings about increased value for shareholders would certainly help to accelerate demand.  Companies, and the consultancies with whom they work, also have a responsibility to take a broad and inclusive view of the leadership talent that could enhance their board.

“In order to address the supply issue, companies and consultancies need to think more broadly about the candidate pool. As well as regularly identifying diverse candidates including senior women across Europe with executive experience, in virtually every conversation with a board member we ask for recommendations of next-generation women to build on this knowledge.  We are also extending our network of less-visible female leaders, for example those that have previous experience in, but have now stepped away from, large corporate organisations and those who have predominantly public sector experience.

“Furthermore, to improve the supply of women as board level candidates it is also important to look deeper than board level and examine why enough women aren’t rising to positions where they can even be considered for board posts. More needs to be done to support female employees earlier in their careers to help them reach the highest levels.”

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