Women Now Hold About 40% Of Board Seats In UK FTSE 100 Companies
Women presently hold almost 40% of the board positions at the major companies of the United Kingdom, found recent government-supported research.
Last year, according to the FTSE Women Leaders Review, 414 women were present on the boards of FTSE 100 companies, which was at 374 in 2020.
The audit, however, revealed a shortage of women in the role of executive directors of the top companies of the country.
In 2021, women had just 13.5% of executive director positions, down from 14.2% the year before. According to the government, the findings reveal a “major sea-change” in “attitudes toward bringing women executives to the top table of business,” according to the government.
Even though women held 45.7% of FTSE 100 board seats in 2021, the study found that 45.7% of these roles were non-executive in nature, such as senior human resource positions.
385 of the 414 women on boards were in non-executive roles. Only 29 women held executive director positions in the UK’s significant firms last year.
Denise Wilson, the review’s chief executive, has proposed new ideas, such as boosting women’s representation on FTSE 350 boards and leadership positions to 40% by 2025 and incorporating the UK’s top 50 private companies by sales in the following review.
“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 organization,” she said.
Unlike other European countries such as France, Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany, where women in executive and management positions are mandatory, having women in executive and management roles in the United Kingdom is entirely voluntary.
“On the surface, 39.1% appears to be a beautiful figure,” said Dr Grace Lordan, associate professor of behavioural science and creator of The Inclusion Initiative at the London School of Economics.
But since so few women hold senior roles in the top companies of the UK, women at FTSE 100 firms are given responsibilities that are often “lower in power” than men.
“We need to put the spotlight on positions of strategic importance like the chair, chief executive and chief financial officer roles – not just the non-executive jobs”.
Even in the face of the difficulties encountered in responding to the outbreak, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng declared that firms had made “enormous progress,” but recognized that more needed to be done.
“While there has been remarkable progress at boardroom level, the report also shines a light on areas where there is still more to do,” he said.
The Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, stated that the government is working to enhance equality and would propose a range of measures to “address the impediments that are holding women back as we endeavor to ensure that everyone can reach their full potential.”
The accounting firm KPMG, a research co-sponsor, claimed that the “need to sustain momentum and continually challenge” remains.
Bina Mehta, KPMG’s UK chair, feels it is “essential” that an “overflowing pipeline” of “well-qualified and accomplished” women leads to more women serving as “chairs, senior independent directors, chief executives, and chief financial operators.”
According to Fiona Cannon, group sustainable business director at Lloyds Banking Group, which also funded the research, the firm is delighted with the new target of having at least 40% women on boards.
“There is no shortage of talented women; we need to ensure the opportunities are there for them to succeed, she added.