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Yes to more women in the boardroom says leading Executive Head Hunter

Yes to more women in the boardroom says leading Executive Head Hunter

The dearth of women at senior levels in Britain’s boardrooms is not the fault of company chairmen with outdated views but a realistic reflection of the numbers of suitable candidates available for such roles according to one of Scotland’s leading executive search specialists.

Jamie Livingston, MD of Livingston James, an executive search business based in Glasgow and Edinburgh, believes that the recent drive to “fix” the balance at the top of organisations has been treating a symptom, not the root cause of the problem.

A recent Cranfield School of Management report, which monitors the situation for the Government, showed that over the past six months, the number of FTSE 100 board appointments going to women has dropped from 44% to 26%. In the FTSE 250, the figure has fallen from 36% to 29%.

Mr Livingston said: “Effective recruitment processes are objective, evidence-based and devoid of influence based on gender, race, religion or any other such factor. Where these processes are in place, trends emerge based on the make-up of the talent pool from which appointments are made.

“The imbalance in board appointments is therefore directly proportionate to the imbalance in the talent pool from which these positions are sourced - that is, there are significantly more men than women in the “target” talent pool.

“Until we address the number of women moving through each of these stages of career progression it is illogical to think that we can create better balance at the top without creating a culture of “tokenism”, which would be hugely counterproductive - not to mention degrading to the many hugely successful and influential female business leaders who have got to the top on merit.”

He added: “It is not all doom and gloom. As we continue to evolve in the knowledge economy, flexible working, portfolio careers and advances in technology make it far easier for people to manage their work around the needs of their families while continuing to progress professionally.

“These solutions, however, will take time to work through the system and the long-term perspective must be taken by all parties in this debate if we are going to find a real solution to the root cause of the problem”, he said.


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