Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Women fill one third of FTSE 100 board positions

Out-Law News | 11 Feb 2020 | 9:29 am | 1 min. read

A third of board positions in the FTSE 100 are now held by women, according to the UK government-backed Hampton-Alexander review.

The review set the target for 33% of FTSE 100 board roles to be filled by women by the end of 2020, but the new data shows that the target has already been reached. The position shows an improvement on last year when the Hampton-Alexander review reported that 32.1% of FTSE 100 board positions were held by women.

However, corporate governance expert Martin Webster of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said there was much more work to be done to improve diversity in senior management.

“Achieving the one-third target for women on FTSE 100 boards is by no means the end of the story," Webster said. "More women in senior executive roles, better representation on the boards of the FTSE 250 and smaller companies, and greater diversity in terms of ethnic origin and life experience – all remain live issues.”

“A company’s culture can be key to all: get that right and change will follow; but if the culture is wrong, apparent compliance is likely to be superficial at best,” Webster said.

The review’s data shows that while the FTSE 100 had met its target for board representation, women remained under-represented in other areas. Only 15% of FTSE 100 finance directors are women, and women represent just 29.5% of FTSE 250 board members.

Hampton-Alexander review chief executive Denise Wilson said: “Half of all available appointments to FTSE 350 leadership roles need to go to women in 2020, not only to meet the 33% voluntary target, but to ensure UK business fully benefits from diverse perspectives and is availing itself of the whole talent pool.”

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy also released the findings of a survey by King’s College London into everyday sexism in the workplace. The survey, of almost 350 men and women at board or executive committee level, found a third of women had had disrespectful or insulting remarks made about them at work, compared to 13% of men. Nearly a quarter (23%) of women reported that they had been shouted or sworn at by someone at work, compared to 16% of men.

Meanwhile 34% of women reported someone at work had ignored or failed to speak to them, or given them the “silent treatment” compared to 23% of men, and 39% of women reported being targeted by angry outbursts or “temper tantrums” by someone at work, compared to 23% of men.

The UK government said its forthcoming Employment Bill would seek to better support women in the workplace, with measures including enhanced protections from pregnancy and maternity discrimination and, subject to consultation, making flexible working the default.