The government wants women to make up at least a third of boards for the UK's 350 biggest companies by 2020 – I’m sure we all saw some of the explanations from chairs and chief executives as to why their organisations were still falling short. In case you missed the list of excuses, you can have a read here.
In 2011 12.5% of FTSE100 board positions were held by women, today that figure stands at almost 30% and if progress matches the same gains made over the last 3 years the government’s 2020 target will be met.
I remain a little surprised that it’s not always immediately clear what percentage of the women holding board positions are executive and what percentage are non-executive. It’s important. Whilst non-executives can advise and influence, they are not necessarily at the sharp edge of decision making and it can be hard to judge their impact on corporate performance. It’s the executive directors that are at the coal face, visible, accountable and often regarded by employees as role models and the leadership power house.
What are businesses doing to bolster the number of women they employ who will become suitable for executive roles instead of relying on NEDs? The FT comments on that here.
FTSE350 firms now have around 20 women chairs – arguably that’s where the real progress has been. It is fantastic that an increasing number of women are making board level, diversity - in whatever shape or form that might take (gender is simply one facet) - is critical for success. Wouldn’t it be even better if more of the women on boards were executive?
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