Analysis from global consultancy partnership Kearney has found that only 346 (33%) women hold board positions in FTSE 100 companies with even fewer women holding top-level board positions.
Though these may seem like low figures, the UK actually ranked second out of the four countries analysed. In India, only 17% of the BSE 100’s 1,094 board members are women, and the US is also behind the curve, with less than one in three (29%) female board members in S&P 100 companies. While the UK did comparatively well, there is still progress to be made. Just 28% of the companies in the FTSE 100 index have females in what would be considered ‘top’ board level positions (C-Suite or Chairman), meaning there are only 29 female board members in top positions overall, and only four companies with female CEOs.
For International Women’s Day, Kearney’s report ‘The Leadership Gap’ set out to establish current progress of diversity in board leadership across four key regions globally –the UK, the US, Australia and India. The report looked at both the private and public sectors. In the latter, the UK also ranked second place, with 34% (220) of its 650 MPs being female. Australia came out as the most gender diverse for both sectors, with 33% of 811 board members in ASX 100 companies being female and 37% (84) of its 227 MPs are women.
The firm also examined gender parity across different industries in the UK. Financial Services leads the way as the most diverse sector, where over a quarter (28%) of total board members are women. The Consumer industry follows closely behind with 23% of women taking up a position on boards. Not all sectors are meeting these standards, however, with Business Services only having 5% female representation at board level.
Ramyani Basu, UK lead for Diversity and Inclusion at Kearney, comments: “Although it is clear FTSE 100 companies rank comparatively well as inclusive places to work, there is still long way to go towards equal opportunities at all levels. The relatively recent implementation of quotas for women in top-level positions has made teams more diverse, but despite quotas being well-intentioned, they are not a long-term solution. Companies need to look at creating a meritocratic culture, moving the narrative from “gender equality” to “individual equity,” embracing individuals for their uniqueness and differences, fostering innovation and creativity to embed an even more inclusive work ethic. It’s important that they encourage everyone to feel they belong, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”