Women unlikely to catch up with men on FTSE 350 boards before 2036
Gender parity prospects for top roles set back four years by Covid pandemic, resport finds
The number of women in senior roles at FTSE 350 companies will lag behind men until 2036, after the Covid pandemic pushed the prospect of gender parity in the boardroom back by four years, according to a new report.
The Women Count 2021 report, an annual study of the number of roles held by women at executive committee level or higher, found that just 15 companies of the 350 had female chief executives. These include Emma Walmsley at GSK, Alison Rose at NatWest and Carolyn McCall at ITV.
The report, produced by gender diversity consultancy The Pipeline, argues that companies have failed to seize the opportunity provided by the pandemic to modernise and reform their businesses.
“This report shows how the top of the UK’s major businesses are still an almost total male preserve,” said Lady Margaret McDonagh and Lorna Fitzsimons, co-founders of The Pipeline. “Times of crisis are moments that offer the possibility of major shifts away from established paradigms. Instead there has been a reversion to type with companies continuing to fail women. Without decisive action the future is looking grim for both women who want to be the next boss and the wider economy.”
The report found that 85% of all executives on main boards are men, and 78% of all executive committee roles are male. Women make up more than half of executive committees and boards at just 4% of FTSE 350 companies.
The worst performing sector of FTSE 350 companies is manufacturing and engineering, where on average just a fifth of members of executive committees are women. Media companies performed the best where 44% of executive committees are comprised of women, double the FTSE 350 average of 22%.
“We cannot continue to hold talented women back by withholding opportunities to reach the top,” said Keith Skeoch, chairman of the Investment Association. “And post-pandemic we cannot continue to keep the economy back by not ensuring our companies have gender-diverse executive committees that will maximise profits.”
The report found that some “minor progress” has been made in reducing the number of FTSE 350 companies with all-male executive committees, from 15% to 10% year-on-year. It also noted that there has been an increase in the total number of women on executive committees, but that the rate of growth towards gender parity has slowed from 2.7% to 2.5% year-on-year. This has pushed back the assessment of gender parity for executive committees from a forecast of 2032 last year, to 2036.
“We should not be treating this issue as a special case within our businesses,” said Amanda Blanc, group chief executive at Aviva. “It is high time that we move beyond business as usual, to make one of today’s key inequities in society a thing of the past.”
Female chief executives at FTSE 350 companies
Emma Walmsley GSK
Alison Rose NatWest
Amanda Blanc Aviva
Jette Nygaard-Andersen Entain
Milena Mondini de Focatiis Admiral
Alison Brittain Whitbread
Liv Garfield – Severn Trent
Carolyn McCall ITV
Susan Davy Pennon
Penny James Direct Line
Zillah Byng-Thorne Future
June Felix IG Group
Helen Gordon Grainger
Rita-Rose Gagné Hammerson
Daphne Zohar Puretech Health
Source: Read Full Article