Number of women on boards up by 50 per cent in five years

Businesswomen at an evening meeting in a boardroom, women on boards, female executives

More than a third of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women, with the number of women on boards up by 50 per cent over the last five years.

The figures come as the final report from the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review are published. The Hampton-Alexander Review was launched in 2016 to encourage UK companies to appoint more women to their boards and into senior leadership positions.

While men still dominate in the upper ranks of the UK’s top firms, the review has seen remarkable progress among FTSE companies during its five years. The number of women on FTSE 350 boards has risen from 682 to 1026 in five years. In total, 220 of the FTSE 350 companies now meet the Hampton-Alexander target of having at least 33 per cent of their board positions held by women – with the figure having quadrupled from just 53 in 2015. There are also now no ‘all-male’ boards in the FTSE 350.

The FTSE 250 reached the Hampton-Alexander Review’s final target of women making up 33 per cent of boards in December 2020, following the FTSE 100 and FTSE 350, which achieved the milestone in February and September 2020 respectively.

The report also shows a culture change at the top, paving the way for greater gender parity across business, with women’s representation in wider senior leadership also rising. Boardrooms are setting the standards for women’s representation across the company and are providing pathways to success for women and ultimately supporting British business to strengthen leadership with new ideas and diverse perspectives that come from more women in senior positions.

Speaking about the final report, Hampton-Alexander Review Chair, Sir Philip Hampton said, “There’s been excellent progress for women leaders in business over the last ten years or more, with boards and shareholders determined to see change.”

“The progress has been strongest with non-executive positions on boards, but the coming years should see many more women taking top executive roles.”

“That’s what is needed to sustain the changes made.”

The Minister for Women, Baroness Berridge, added, “I want to thank all those companies that have shared their best methods of retaining and promoting talented women in their workforce.”

“Getting women into senior positions can be vital for a company’s success, and we want to see more of it as part of the UK’s COVID-19 recovery.”

“It also makes good business sense, with companies in the top 25 per cent for gender diversity on their executive teams also 25 per cent more likely to have above-average profitability.”


FTSE Women Leaders, Hampton Alexander Review

Hampton-Alexander Review – Five Year Summary | FTSE Women Leaders

This is the fifth and final year of the Hampton-Alexander Review (the Review), which is an independent, voluntary and business-led initiative supported by Government, to increase the representation of women in senior leadership positions and on boards of FTSE 350 companies.

As this final year draws to a close, it is time to reflect on progress and learning, to celebrate the achievements of many, and shine a spotlight on areas where there is still more to do.

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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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