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Women on Boards: progress is evident but further action needed says AER

Women on Boards:  progress is evident but further action needed says AER

Lord Davies's review of boardroom equality has been a catalyst for change but more executive appointments are needed to meet the review's targets, according to the Association of Executive Recruiters, commenting ahead of the one year anniversary of the report.

The Association of Executive Recruiters (AER) is part of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and has long taken an active role in driving the diversity agenda amongst its members, clients and key stakeholders. Recent research by the AER has shown that businesses know the proven commercial benefits of having a more diverse board,  but that  better mentoring, support and other proactive measures are desperately needed  to successfully diversify the pool of candidates for leading positions within UK firms.

Commenting on the forthcoming anniversary, David Winterburn, Chair of the AER said: “Britain's biggest companies have doubled the number of women they are recruiting to their boards in the last year but  much more needs to be done to reach Lord Davies’ target that one in four members of a FTSE 100 board should be female by 2015.

“Feedback from our members suggests that whilst companies are convinced they need more women on boards, actually making this happen on the ground is a challenge. This is where search and selection professionals can help make a difference. 

“We urgently need to break down structural barriers and rethink policies to support women with young children or caring responsibilities. We also need to up the ante in terms of mentoring and must continue to raise awareness of some of the excellent support networks that can help women navigate their career paths. In the short-term, executive recruiters have a pivotal role to play by reaching out to more women candidates and providing practical support and coaching."

The AER is currently working with a number of organisations such as the CIPD, CBI, Women Like Us, the Women in Business Network, Everywoman, ILM and CMI to identify current barriers and develop a robust set of recommendations to tackle the root causes of imbalance in the boardroom.

The recent AER roundtable forum on women on boards will drive further activities over the coming months to make a tangible difference to this agenda. For more information on the outcomes of the roundtable, please go to: http://www.rec.uk.com/regions-sectors/sectors/aer/AERRoundtable

Reviewing current barriers to career progression will also be one of the themes of the REC’s recently launched Flexible Work Commission which is being chaired by David Frost OBE, Former Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC). For feedback on the first meeting of the Commission, go to: http://www.rec.uk.com/press/news/1967

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