Britain’s top companies should ensure that more women make it on to executive committees as well as into boardrooms, a government-backed review has recommended.
Companies listed on the FTSE 100 should have at least a third of their executive pipeline positions filled by women by 2020, the independent review led by Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, and Dame Helen Alexander, chair of UBM, concluded. The 33% target is voluntary.
The aim is to ensure that there is a broader focus so that more women are employed in other senior roles below board level. At present, a quarter of people either sitting on FTSE 100 executive committees or reporting directly to them are women.
Hampton and Alexander were appointed in February to look at the issue of developing senior female talent by then business secretary, Sajid Javid. It followed the work of Lord Davies, who recommended in 2011 that FTSE 100 companies should double the proportion of women in boardrooms – including non-executive roles – to 25% by 2015.
The target was exceeded, with women accounting for 26.1% of FTSE 100 boards last year. In July, Hampton and Alexander said they supported the Davies review’s subsequent recommendation that FTSE 350 boards should be a third female by the end of 2020.
Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander said in a joint statement: “We are launching the next stage in the journey where FSTE 100 companies will aim for a third of their all-important leadership roles to be occupied by women by the end of 2020.
“We don’t underestimate the challenge the new voluntary target presents for many FTSE companies. However, we are encouraged by the breadth of experienced women ready and willing to step up, the significant efforts under way in many companies on this agenda, and the ability of British business to work together to bring about change when it is needed.”
Lady Barbara Judge, the chair of the Institute of Directors and member of the advisory panel for the review, said: “We have long argued that focusing just on boards fails to build a sustainable pipeline of women leaders. Having a third of executive committees made up by women by 2020 is a very stretching target, and there will have to be sustained political and public pressure for this to be achieved.”
Justine Greening, the minister for women and equalities, said bridging the UK gender gap in work could add £150bn to the UK’s annual GDP in 2025.
Melanie Richards, the vice-chair and a partner in KPMG, said that although UK companies had made progress in promoting more women into boardrooms, there had been little improvement at the executive level. “If we are to continue to make progress towards achieving greater gender balance, it is critical that all levels of the pipeline are addressed,” she said.
This article was written by Angela Monaghan, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 8th November 2016 19.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
Have something to tell us about this article?