Gender parity in the FTSE 350 pushed back four years due to COVID-19

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Gender parity in the FTSE 350 has been pushed back four years due to COVID-19, according to a new report.

The Women Count 2021 report, released today by The Pipeline, has also revealed that gender parity in the FTSE 350 is crucial for the UK’s COVID-19 financial recovery.

After a devastating 15 months tackling the pandemic, the report shows companies with greater gender diversity at the top achieved higher profits and companies without female executives suffered bigger COVID-19 financial losses.  The report data shows that companies with women making up at least 50 per cent of the executive committee secured a profit margin of 21.2 per cent. In contrast, FTSE 350 companies without women on their executive committees suffered on average a fall in profits of 17.5 per cent.

The Women Count 2021 report is the only report in the UK that looks into the number of women on executive committees in the FTSE 350. The report revealed that the predicted year for gender parity for women holding executive positions is now 2036, a regression of four years from last year’s assessment.

Representation of women holding executive positions has hit the exceptionally low glass ceiling and C-Suite positions are a near total male domain. The report found that UK businesses are failing to make progress on gender diversity at the top of organisations, with women accounting for just five per cent of CEO positions in FTSE 350 companies, a small rise from last year’s low figure of four per cent and continuing a trend of slow incremental growth.

Lorna FitzsimonsSpeaking about the report, Lorna Fitzsimons, Co-founder of The Pipeline, said, “The last year has been dominated by Covid-19, which has disrupted so much.”

“Times of crisis are moments that offer the possibility of major shifts away from established paradigms, but the extreme stresses involved can also drive a response that is regressive.”

“The data in Women Count 2021 reveals that FTSE 350 companies have not used the pandemic as a transformative moment for their businesses, instead there has been a reversion to type with companies continuing to fail women.”

Margaret McDonaghMargaret McDonagh Co-founder of The Pipeline, added, “Women Count 2021 shows that without decisive action, the future is looking grim for both women who want to be the next boss and the wider economy.”

“Evidence of this lies in the incredibly low-level of women who are in executive committee roles with profit and loss responsibility, which are critical pre-CEO positions, a situation that remains largely unchanged in the last 12 months.”

Find the full report here

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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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