MORE women are reaching the top in the boardrooms of Britain, according to new Government statistics.
According to the latest figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, female representation in the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies has increased dramatically.
Figures for the FTSE 100 reveal that 19% of directors in the UK’s top companies are now female, up from 12.5% in February 2011, when Lord Davies was commissioned by the Government to find out what was preventing more women from becoming board members. Lord Davies set a target of 25% of women on the boards of listed companies by 2015.
Just two years later, almost 24% of non-executive directors are now female, a rise of more than 8% on February 2011. And, more encouraging, almost a quarter (24%) of all board appointments made since March 1, 2013, have been women.
Business Secretary Vince Cable is still not convinced that enough is being done and has written to companies which still have all-male boards, asking them what steps they are taking to address the issue.
Mr Cable said: “I’m glad the number of women at the top of our most successful companies continues to rise. Businesses are clearly still striving to get the right mix of talent around their boardroom table and we must not lose momentum.
“We have until 2015 to reach our target of 25% of women on the boards of listed companies, which Lord Davies set us two years ago. With these latest encouraging figures, I am confident we can get over the finishing line.”
However, Mr Cable warned that simply appointing more women as non-executive directors was not enough.
“This is about more talented women getting executive experience, so they will not only advise, but run this country’s great companies,” he said.
Commenting on the latest figures, Lord Davies added: “These figures are a sign that we have come a long way since our original report in 2011.
“The target of 25% in the FTSE 100 by 2015 was rightly ambitious but the increase in the figures is a sign that businesses are not letting the issue pass them by.”
However, Bernadette Daley, an Employment Partner at international law firm Mayer Brown LLB, writing in HR Review in September, said that figures from Boardwatch UK show that the rate of women being appointed to the boards of UK companies has slowed dramatically.
She went on to argue that it might be time for the UK to implement a quota system of female board members, similar to those in France, Italy, Spain and Norway.
This is a view shared with EU Justice Commissioner Vivian Reding, who believes quotas are the only way to drive change, although she has been forced to drop her controversial plans for a 40% quota for women on the boards of publicly-traded companies in the European Union.
Bernadette Daley’s full article can be found at: http://www.hrreview.co.uk/blogs/blogs-diversity-equality/quotas-for-women-on-boards/48821.
Lord Davies report can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/182602/bis-13-p135-women-on-boards-2013.pdf