News Analysis

Firms must recruit more women board members

by Stephen Conmy on Nov 3, 2021


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UK companies have been told by the government that they must recruit more women board members.

The government is still not happy with the level of gender diversity at the boardroom level of FTSE firms. This is an excellent opportunity for qualified and certified women board candidates.

More women board members are wanted

UK officials want to see more women on boards and in executive leadership positions. They have launched a five-year drive to get more women on company boards as part of a follow-up to the Hampton–Alexander review, which aimed to get more women on boards.

FTSE-listed companies are being urged to increase their efforts when it comes to gender diversity at senior management and board levels.

At least 40 per cent

As part of the new campaign, the aim is for at least 40 per cent of every FTSE board to be female while also encouraging more women to progress into executive roles in order to improve the pipeline of future board candidates.

In the five years of the Hampton-Alexander review, which ended in the spring, the number of women on FTSE boards increased by 50%.

Diversity improves profitability

The diversity of top management can improve companies’ profitability, and firms should push for equal opportunity on merit rather than based simply on gender.

Business minister Paul Scully said the business case for diversity is too compelling to ignore.

“UK business has taken great strides when it comes to gender diversity at board level. Companies shouldn’t take their foot off the gas. Evidence shows that more diverse businesses are more successful businesses.”

A key objective of the new review will also be to encourage more female executives since the number of female chief executives and chairs in the FTSE is relatively low.

According to equality campaigners, the pandemic exacerbated gender gaps in many firms, since women often had to stay at home to take care of their children during the lockdown.

A recent FT analysis of official data shows the gender pay gap in Britain widened across businesses.


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