FTSE 350 urged to step up to meet 2020 women on boards targets

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FTSE 350 companies have been urged to step up at meet targets to get more women on boards by 2020.

Data released to mark the halfway point of the government-backed, Hampton-Alexander Review, found that a quarter of FTSE 350 board positions are held by women, but there still remains ten all-male boards.

The Hampton-Alexander Review aims to ensure that talented women at the top of business are recognised, promoted and rewarded. Launched in 2016, the review set FTSE 350 businesses a target of having 33 per cent of all board and senior leadership positions held by women by the end of 2020.

FTSE 100 firms are on track to reach the target – according to the new data, 305 positions – 29 per cent of FTSE 100 positions – are held by women, up from 12.5 per cent in 2011. Statistics show that if progress matches the same gains made over the last three years, then FTSE 100 companies are on track to meet the 2020 target.

While the number of women on boards has increased to 25.5 per cent in FTSE 350 companies, around 40 per cent of all appointments need to go to women in the next two years for the FTSE 350 to achieve the 33 per cent target.

Speaking about the new findings, Sir Philip Hampton, Chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review said, “It is good to see progress of women on boards continuing with the FTSE 100 likely to hit the 33 per cent target in 2020.”

“However, nearly half of all available board appointments in the run up to 2020 now need to go to women if the FTSE 350 are to meet the target.”

“Far too many companies still have no women – or only one woman – on their board.”

“Meanwhile, progress in executive and leadership positions is eagerly awaited as the portal for companies to submit their gender data opens today.”

“We’ll be analysing the data on women in executive leadership roles and hope to see increasing numbers of women joining Executives Committees, or reporting to ExCo members, in the FTSE 350.”

Commenting on the statistics, Sinead Bunting, VP of Marketing Europe, Monster.co.uk, said, “We’ve taken a step in the right direction today, but we need only look at the embarrassing excuses for not appointing women to boards released last month to see how much more needs to be done to achieve anything like gender parity in the workplace.”

“To level the playing field companies of all sizes need to up their game.”

“This is no longer limited to ensuring equal pay but implementing better workplace policies, including encouraging shared parental leave, ensuring fairer recruitment strategies and introducing return to work programmes.”

“Our own research tells us that 46 per cent of the UK workforce are crying out for Shared Parental Leave, but half don’t know their company even offers it – businesses must do more to engrain policies like this in the culture of their companies.”

“Gradual changes from the top down like this will drive confidence in flexible working, keep women in work longer and encourage the shift in attitudes we need to achieve workplace equality.”

“In 2018, gender shouldn’t be a contributing factor in whether a person can successfully lead a business.”

“And it is businesses that need to be leading by example.”

Alison Simpson
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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