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Women on boards: Cable launches enhanced code for executive recruiters

Over seventy firms signed up to the original voluntary code of conduct launched in 2011. In response to the independent Sweeney review in February 2014, the search industry has developed a new enhanced code to recognise those firms driving progress and embedding higher standards.

The new Enhanced Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms gives recognition to those firms who have been most successful in the recruitment of women to FSTE 350 boards. It builds on the terms of the standard voluntary code and will also recognise the outstanding efforts of search firms working to build the pipeline of FTSE board directors of the future.

The Enhanced Voluntary Code was drawn up by the search firms themselves working with the Davies Steering Group. It contains 10 new provisions, from launching initiatives to support aspiring women to sharing of best practice and running awareness programmes within their own firms.

Under the new provisions, firms will provide evidence to the Davies Steering Group that they have:

Supported the appointment of at least four women to FTSE 100/250 boards over the last year

Achieved a proportion of at least 33% female appointments across all  their FTSE 100/250 board work

Supported women in achieving their first FTSE 350 board appointment and

Have fully delivered against more qualitative aspects of the Enhanced Code in their daily practices.

The Enhanced Code requires search firms to submit summary data in an agreed format to the independent Davies Steering Group annually, to confirm they meet the requirements for accreditation under the Code.

Executive search firms will also be encouraged to visibly signal their commitment to gender diversity, on their websites and in discussion with clients as well as publishing relevant summary data on their track record.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Executive Search firms are crucial to achieving gender diversity in both executive and non-executive roles.

“Recruiters can best show their commitment to this work by embracing this new enhanced code”.

“Now that all FTSE 100 boards have at least one woman serving on them, and all key stakeholders have embraced the gender diversity agenda, we are confident that with sustained and continued action, we will meet the target of 25% women on.

“Now that all FTSE 100 boards have at least one woman serving on them, and all key stakeholders have embraced the gender diversity agenda, we are confident that with sustained and continued action, we will meet the target of 25% women on FTSE 100 boards by 2015.

“I am looking forward to finding out which firms have passed the higher standard set by industry”.

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