Women now getting on board

FTSE companies have apparently recruited more women onto their boards than ever before since the publication of Lord Davies’s report. 23 this year so far compared with 18 in the whole of 2010.

He wanted companies to double their female contingent within 4 years and they have made a good start with 30% of all appointments being women.

Also the number of blue chip companies without a female board member has dropped from 21 in December to 14. Percentage wise however this is not a big change – from 12.5% in December to 13.9% of all FTSE 100 seats and still only about 9% of FTSE 250 seats.

The UK government is unlikely to impose mandatory quotas unlike Norway which has required companies to have a 40% quota. (See “Getting Women on Board“)

According to a report in The Guardian (02/07/11) this has been a mixed blessing for Norway’s so-called “golden skirts”. It has increased the number of non-executive directors (NEDs) but not the number of female managers. And the situation there seems similar to UK where a handful of women have a handful of NED roles.

And now Helen Morrissey, 45 year-old mother of nine with a house husband, has founded the 30% club aimed at ensuring that all boards have at least 1/3 female members by 2015.

She reportedly manages £50 billion of investments and said; ” The idea that women can have a family and friends and hold down a difficult, high-octane job when both partners work full-time ….. is not impossible but it’s a bit unrealistic”.

Updated 5 September 2011: The government’s deadline for voluntary compliance with a 25% target for female board membership has passed uneventfully. Only 8 companies in the FTSE100 have announced their plans to meet this target over the next few years. These are HSBC, Anglo-American, Centrica,GSK, National Grid, Vodaphone, M&S, and Land Securities, according to research by Pinsent Masons reported in The Times. This figure is disputed by Cranfield School of Management researchers who say there are actually 15 companies which have signed up.

There are 12 companies which already have 25% female board directors – so that makes possibly 27. The number of women on boards has increased to 14% since Lord Davies’s report with 23% of new appointments since then being women. There are still 14 companies with no women at all on their boards.

Women in senior management in big companies according to Deloitte:

  • Norway = 35.6&
  • USA = 15.7%
  • Canada = 12.9%
  • France = 12.7%
  • Australia = 11.2%
  • Spain = 9.2%
  • Netherlands = 9.2%
  • Hong Kong = 8.6%
  • Germany = 8.2%
  • China = 8.1%
  • Belgium = 7.7%
  • Czech Republic = 7.6%
  • Singapore = 6.4%
  • Italy = 6.2%
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