Firms urged to appoint more women to senior roles

Firms urged to appoint more women to senior roles”

To meet that target, at least 40 per cent of appointments to senior positions over the next three years will need to be women.

The CBI has responded to the latest Hampton-Alexander review data, which focuses on increasing the number of women on boards and in senior leadership positions across the FTSE 350.

A Government-backed review has today urged FTSE 350 companies to fill more board and senior leadership positions with talented women in a bid to make the United Kingdom a world-leader in gender diversity. The previous target applied to both FTSE 100 and FTSE 350 boards, along with just FTSE 100 leadership teams.

An independent review, commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), urged FTSE 350 companies to fill more board and senior leadership positions with women, extending the 33% target to senior leadership positions for all FTSE 350 companies.

However, Sir Philip Hampton today called on FTSE 350 companies to quicken the pace of change on boards and extended the 33 per cent target to senior leadership positions of all FTSE 350 companies. "It is the impact of visible female role models in executive director positions that has the most potential to change organisational culture and practices around gender diversity and encourage more senior-level progression for women directly below board level".

Commenting on the review, professional service firm KPMG's deputy chair Melanie Richards said that while the target set out by Sir Philip are ambitious, there are "are clear commercial benefits to achieving it".

"It is our collective responsibility to ensure that women with the talent, drive and ambition to one day lead the UK's largest companies have exactly the same opportunities to do so as their male counterparts", she added.

But Chloé Chambraud, acting gender director at Business in the Community, said it was "disappointing" that men still made up 72 per cent of board members and 90 per cent of executive directors in the FTSE 100.

The government established the Business Diversity and Inclusion Group in February this year, to bring together business leaders and organisations to coordinate action to remove barriers in the workplace and introduced mandatory reporting of gender pay gaps in April for voluntary, public and private sector employers with 250 staff or more.

A recent report by the World Economic Forum on the gender pay gap placed the United Kingdom 15th in a global ranking, behind G20 peers France and Germany.

It will show that 28% of those directorships are held by women today, against just 12% when Lord Davies, the former Trade Minister, began work to improve boardroom diversity in 2012.

"This must not be allowed to happen". We are making progress, but there is still a long way to go.

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