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Cranfield Universitys annual FTSE female index published

Executive summary 

This year we have seen three major breakthroughs on FTSE loo boards: the percentage of

women on them has broken the 20% level (20.7%), the number of women on them has exceeded

the 200 mark (205) and the number of all male boards has dropped to two. In the past six months the pace of change in appointing women to FTSE boards has increased to 35.5% on FTSE loo and 33.3% on FTSE 250 boards. Turnover on FTSE loo boards has risen to the 2012 level of 17% and on that basis our trajectory shows that we should reach 26.7% women on boards by 31 December 2015. Calculating our trajectory on 14% turnover (average pre 2011 turnover) we should still reach the Davies target by 31 December 2015 (25.3%).

See the full report here.

Commenting on the results, Gaenor Bagley, executive board member and head of people at PwC, said, “While it is encouraging that more women are progressing to the most senior levels of companies, we still have a long way to go before work opportunities are truly equal for men and women.

“We need to ensure that we don’t fall into the trap of assuming that only men have ambition and are aspirational because they articulate it in a certain way. This is about companies challenging the norm, measuring women against their own goals rather than enforced stereotypes and asking why more women aren’t coming through to promotion.

"Only through closer monitoring and challenging of gender differences at every stage of careers will companies understand what changes they need to make to bring about sustained change. This isn’t about positive discrimination this is about making sure opportunities to progress are open to all.”

Following the publication of the index and Lord Davies’s third annual progress report into Women on Boards, Estelle James, director at Robert Half, said, “While business leaders are taking steps to level the playing field between men and women in the workplace, these inroads are not being felt by the employees themselves. According to our research more than a third of women have experienced barriers to advancement during their career, but nearly half (47%) of HR directors believe women are in fact advancing their careers on par with men. Across the wider business community, two thirds (66%) of both male and female employees believe women experience barriers in their careers yet there is huge disparity between the genders, with 57% of men and 75% of women believing that a glass ceiling exists for women.

“It should always be the best person for the job - but offering the right career path and development opportunities coupled with more flexible working options will result in a larger pool of women ready to take their rightful seat at the boardroom table. We only have three women in the FTSE 100, so seeing more in the next few years should be a priority.

“There are some signs of improvement: looking at the financial services industry as an example, 64% of C-suite executives believe that banking, financial services and insurance companies are on track to meet Lord Davies’ target of 25% female board representation by 2015. However this still leaves a third of companies that will not meet his target.”

Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director, commenting on Lord Davies's report, said, “These latest figures show the voluntary approach recommended by business to Lord Davies is working. However there is still some way to go, so now is not the time to take our foot off the accelerator.

“Lord Davies is absolutely right to highlight the need to address the pipeline of future female directors if we’re going to achieve real parity. This is something that businesses are committed to doing, and real progress is now being made on building workplaces that help all staff, male or female, develop their careers and manage their work-life balance effectively.”

 

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