FTSE 350 meets 33% female target

Across the FTSE 350 as a whole, women now make up more than a third of all board members for the first time, but individual companies are still missing the 33% target, government data shows

Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) indicate a continued increase in representation of women on the boards of the FTSE 350 companies, with a 3.8% rise in the last year.

However, 41% of FTSE 350 companies have still not reached 33% woman representation. This was the minimum target for women on FTSE350 boards and in senior leadership two layers below the board set in 2016 by the independent, government-sponsored Hampton-Alexander Review.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is now calling for all companies to take action to ensure they meet the 33% target ahead of the end of December 2020.

In addition, the data has also revealed that 18 boards within the FTSE 250 remain ‘one and done’ boards, where companies appoint a single woman board member and go no further.

There is also one all-male board - this figure is down from 152 all-male boards in 2011.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: ‘While I am pleased that the FTSE 350 as a whole has finally hit this historic landmark, more than 100 of the UK’s top companies have failed to meet the target.

‘Research shows that diverse leadership teams are more innovative and make better decisions. As the UK economy continues to recover from coronavirus, increasing representation of women on boards represents a golden opportunity not only to rebuild, but build back better.’

Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, said: ‘Although good progress has been made with many companies recently appointing additional women to their boards and senior leadership teams, some laggards remain.

‘On behalf of investors, I want to send a rallying cry to those companies that now is the time to take action and demonstrate real change.

‘Diversity results in better decision-making and plays an essential role in a company’s long-term success and investors expect companies, at a minimum, to meet the target set.’

The process for gathering gender data in the next senior leadership tiers is an annual process, whereby companies submit their own gender data via a secure portal on the Hampton-Alexander Review website.

The portal will open on 2 November for companies to submit their leadership data - that is the number of men and women on the Executive Committee and the Direct Reports to the Executive Committee - for the final report, and will close on 30 November.

Salary levels

Separate research from diversity specialists INvolve has found women make up only one quarter of people with salaries over £73,000.

 It also found, in an analysis of 250,000 professionals, that 77% of people with salaries over £73,000 are men, whilst women make up the majority (56%) of those professionals who are in the lowest pay bracket of up to £17,000.

The research showed that women have spent longer in each role at the lower end of the pay scale, but as they become more senior, this dramatically reduces. For instance, a woman has spent an average of 10 years on a salary of £21,000, compared to a man’s eight years, but has only spent five years at a salary of £165,000, compared with a man’s eight years.

Progress on gender pay equality is most pronounced in the financial services secto`r, which accounts for almost one third (3%) of the consultancy’s HERoes Women Role Model Lists, by far the largest representation of any other sector.

Representatives from Goldman Sachs, Fidelity International, Standard Chartered Bank, American Express and BNY Mellon have been named in the top ranks of the annual lists this year.

Those in the 100 Women Executives List include Jennifer Jackson, president of Capital One Canada, who takes the top spot, Ann Cairns, executive vice chairman at Mastercard at number two and June Felix, CEO, IG Group, who sits in the third spot.

Fourth place is held by Masami Katakura, chairwoman & CEO at EY Shin Nihon.

Useful links:

EY report From Intent to Action is here 

The Hampton Alexander Review website

HERoes Women Role Model Lists

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