Any observer Zooming into the boardrooms of Britain’s biggest companies might initially be impressed by the healthy gender mix of the directors sitting round the table.
More than a decade after the launch of the Davies review into women on boards much progress appears to have been made. Now around four out of 10 FTSE 100 board posts are filled by women.
But as today’s striking research from Mattison Public Relations shows the headline figures are wholly misleading. Up in the C-Suite, the hallowed inner circle of top directors who have “chief” in their title it is a different picture, As a result the key boardroom decisions affecting millions of employees and tens of millions of customers are still being made by tiny groups of richly rewarded men.
Astonishingly only one in 50 of the top paid FTSE 100 roles is filled by a woman, according to the research. It suggests that while there is a wider and deeper pool of strong female candidates to freshen up the directorial line up, there is still a thick glass ceiling when it comes to the plum jobs.
It will likely take another decade or more before the C-Suite line up is close to being genuinely reflective of society as a whole - at least in gender mix terms.
The encouraging headline number for female FTSE 100 directors masks an underlying truth: the real power still lies with the blokes.