Almost 40% of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women

diverse range of people on a board, women on boards

Almost 40 per cent of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women, putting the UK second in international rankings for board representation.

The data has been published in a new report by the government-backed FTSE Women Leaders Review, which monitors women’s representation in 24,000 positions on FTSE 350 Boards and in leadership teams of the UK’s biggest companies, building on the success of the previous Hampton-Alexander and Davies Reviews.

The findings demonstrate a major sea-change in attitudes to getting women leaders to the top table of business in the UK, with women’s board representation increasing in 2021 across the FTSE 100 (39.1%), FTSE 250 (36.8%) and FTSE 350 (37.6%).

FTSE 100

Up 39.1%

FTSE 100

Up 39.1%

FTSE 250

Up 36.8%

FTSE 250

Up 36.8%

FTSE 350

Up 37.6%

FTSE 350

Up 37.6%

The number of women in Chair roles across the FTSE 350 rose to 48, up from 39 in 2020, and there has been a significant decrease in the number of ‘One & Done’ boards to just six this year, as British businesses take action to diversify their boardrooms.

UK businesses have also continued to drive progress in their leadership teams in 2021, despite challenges faced in responding to COVID-19. There are over 700 more women in Leadership roles in the FTSE 350 companies this year, increasing women’s representation to 31.5 per cent, an increase of two per cent year-on-year.

While there has been remarkable progress at boardroom level, the report also shines a light on areas where there is still more to do. For example, only one in three leadership roles and around 25 per cent of all executive committee roles are held by women and there are very few women in the CEO role. Equally, there are still many companies yet to hit the former 33 per cent target set by the Hampton Alexander Review.

Speaking about the findings, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said, “UK businesses have made enormous progress in recent years to ensure that everyone, whatever their background, can succeed on merit – and today’s findings highlight this with more women at the top table of Britain’s biggest companies than ever before.”

“However, we should not rest on our laurels, and the FTSE Women Leaders Review will build on the success so far of our voluntary, business-led approach to increasing women’s representation on boards and in leadership, without the need for mandatory quotas.”

FTSE Women Leaders Review

The first Report of the FTSE Women Leaders Review announces four new recommendations and highlights progress across the FTSE 350 for Women Leaders.

Another strong year of progress for women on FTSE 350 Boards and continued good progress for women in Leadership teams. The rich and unique data set grows each year, as does the effort and ambition of many companies working hard and pushing beyond the targets set in earlier years.

This is the first year of the FTSE Women Leaders Review, which is the third and successor phase to the Hampton-Alexander and Davies Reviews. It is an independent, voluntary and business-led initiative supported by Government, aimed at increasing the representation of women on FTSE 350 Boards and in their Leadership teams.

FTSE Women Leaders
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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