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Four in 10 FTSE 100 board roles held by women

The UK came second in the international rankings for women’s representation on boards at FTSE 100 level. Photo: Getty
The UK came second in the international rankings for women’s representation on boards at FTSE 100 level. Photo: Getty

Nearly four in 10 UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women, a jump of 12.5% compared to a decade ago.

The government published the FTSE Women Leaders Review on Tuesday, which monitors women’s representation in 24,000 positions on FTSE Boards and in the leadership teams of the UK’s biggest companies.

It said the findings represent "a major sea-change" in attitudes towards getting women leaders to the top table of business in the UK, with FTSE 100's women representation at 39.1%, FTSE 250 at 38.6% and FTSE 350 at 37.6%

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “UK businesses have made enormous progress in recent years to ensure that everyone, whatever their background, can succeed on merit – and today’s findings highlight this with more women at the top table of Britain’s biggest companies than ever before.

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“However, we should not rest on our laurels, and the FTSE Women Leaders Review will build on the success so far of our voluntary, business-led approach to increasing women’s representation on boards and in leadership, without the need for mandatory quotas.”

Overall, the UK came second in international rankings for board representation, behind France where gender representation on FTSE 100 is nearly 44%

Read more: Five steps for women to reduce money worries and rebuild resilience

The report highlighted areas where more work needs to be done to diversify boardrooms further.

Currently, only one in three leadership roles and around a quarter of all executive committee roles are held by women and there are still very few women at CEO level.

Men continue to dominate CEO positions across the FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and FTSE 350. Photo: Getty
Men continue to dominate CEO positions across the FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and FTSE 350. Photo: Getty (fizkes via Getty Images)

Moreover, many companies are yet to hit the target set in 2016 of having 33% of senior positions held by women, as laid out in the Hampton Alexander Review.

Minister for women and equalities, Liz Truss, said: "It is excellent to see the progress being made, but we know there is more to be done.

"This government is committed to levelling up all parts of our country, working to tackle inequality and promoting equality of opportunity, including at senior level, so everyone can thrive.

"We will shortly put forward a range of measures to advance equality for women at work, increasing opportunity, and tackling the issues that are holding women back as we look to ensure that everyone can reach their full potential."

Read more: What is levelling up and what it means for where you live

The government has declined to introduce mandatory quotas for women in executive roles, as other European countries – including France, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany – have done.

Instead, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Energy recommends that the voluntary target for women's representation on FTSE 350 Boards and for leadership teams is increased to 40% by the end of 2025.

It also recommends all FTSE 350 boards have at least one women in the chair role, senior independent director role on the board, one woman in the CEO of finance director role before the end of 2025 and extending the scope of the review to include the 50 biggest private companies in the UK.

The government announced on Tuesday that KPMG and Lloyds Banking Group will be the corporate sponsors for FTSE Women Leaders Review in its next phase, providing important support to increase the number of women at the top of British business.

Denise Wilson, chief executive of the FTSE Women Leaders Review said that this would "embed the progress and hard-won gains of the last decade and take business further on the journey to gender balance in the boardroom and in leadership."

She added: “We know there is much more work to do and no shortage of experienced, capable women, ambitious for themselves and their company across all sectors of business today. So while we continue to build on progress for women on boards, we need to firmly shift focus in this next phase to women in leadership roles at the top of the organisation.”

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