The FTSE 250 could meet the 33% target for women in senior leadership positions if current progress is maintained.
32.1% of FTSE 100 board positions are held by women, up from 12.5% in 2011. Meanwhile in the FTSE 250, figures have jumped from 24.9% to 27.5%.
Launched in 2016, the government-backed independent Hampton-Alexander Review set FTSE 350 businesses a target of having 33% of all board and senior leadership positions held by women by the end of 2020. Today’s figures show that if progress matches the same gains made over the last 3 years, then FTSE 100 companies are on track to meet the 2020 target.
Sir Philip Hampton, Chair of the Review said, “The FTSE 250 is working hard to catch up but still too many boards have only one woman and remarkably today there are four all male boards in the FTSE 250. We are expecting to see good progress in the number of women appointed into senior leadership roles this year, with those companies having worked hard for several years exceeding the 33% target and reaping the benefits.”
Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst mentioned, “These latest figures show there are now more women than ever before at the top of UK business, and I want to see companies do all they can to increase the numbers further. Diversity makes good business sense and those who fail to see this as a priority are missing out on the benefits that diverse leadership brings.”
In March 2019, the Investment Association (IA) and the Hampton-Alexander Review jointly wrote to 69 companies in the FTSE 350 with one woman or less on their board, addressing the concerns about the lack of gender diversity.
Fourteen companies in the FTSE 350 were being named to highlight their condition with one woman or less on their board.
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association said, “It is especially disappointing that 14 companies are still falling so far short of shareholder expectations by having just a single woman on their board. Investors want to invest in businesses that demonstrate they are diverse and inclusive because this leads to better decision-making and avoids group think.”
14 companies have not responded to these letters:
- Baillie Gifford Japan Trust Plc
- BCA Marketplace Plc
- Energean Oil & Gas Plc
- Ferrexpo Plc
- Grafton Group Plc
- Herald Investment Trust Plc
- Hochschild Mining Plc
- Jupiter European Opportunities Trust Plc
- Rank Group Plc
- Riverstone Energy Ltd
- Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Ltd
- Telecom Plus Plc
- TR Property Investments
- Tritax Big Box REIT Plc