Women on boards momentum needs to be kept up, study finds

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Written on 6 October 2014 in News
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An analysis of publicly-available data shows that 60 women are needed to take board seats by the target date, yet only 32 female executives who have operational or financial experience at the top of FTSE 100 companies, are potentially available to do so, leaving a shortfall of 28 women

While Lord Davies’ target for women to make up 25 per cent of FTSE 100 boards by the end of 2015 is likely to be achieved, it is vital that momentum is kept up.

That’s according to research by CTPartners Augmentum, the UK CEO and board practice of the New York-listed global executive search firm CTPartners.

An analysis of publicly-available data shows that 60 women are needed to take board seats by the target date, yet only 32 female executives who have operational or financial experience at the top of FTSE 100 companies, are potentially available to do so, leaving a shortfall of 28 women.

Furthermore, the CTPartners Augmentum research highlights that from 2016, 36 women will need to be appointed each year just to maintain the target percentage of 25 per cent female board members. 

Andy Davies, managing partner, UK CEO & Board Practice, CTPartners Augmentum, said: “In line with the fact that around half of board appointees (men and women) come from overseas, we expect that any shortfall will be filled by a combination of the appointment of non-UK female executives as well as female executives from the financial services sector. Additionally, our analysis indicates that the pool of prospective women board members with a conventional UK corporate background will have been exhausted by 2015 and an even greater in-put will be required from other sectors. Therefore, maintaining the target percentage set by Lord Davies will be a challenge.

“Companies need to create a pipeline that enables talented women to rise to the very top. Imposing a target is a good starting point, but it doesn’t address the need for the sort of deep-seated cultural changes around diversity that are required to make a long-term difference.” 

He added: “Addressing the paucity of senior female executives is also key and an excellent starting point, given that it is these women who will be role models and will help persuade more junior executives that it is worth joining that company and persevering with their careers.” 

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