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Only 15% of FDs in FTSE 100 companies are women

A new government-backed review has highlighted the concerning gender imbalance of senior roles in FTSE 100 companies  with only 15% of women in finance director roles.

26th Feb 2020
Editor AccountingWEB
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Equal-arm balance

New research from the Hampton-Alexander Review shows that one-third of board seats at FTSE 100 companies are now held by women, which is ten months ahead of the December 2020 target.

However, the 33% of women finance directors in FTSE 100 companies falls short of some of the other senior roles such as human resource director (66%) and company secretary (40%).

The review has found that more work needs to done for many FTSE 100 companies individually, and for the FTSE 250 overall to meet the 33% target of women in board positions, as it currently sits at 29.5%.

With a concerning lack of female representation in senior leadership and key executive roles in FTSE companies, the FRC has called on companies to clearly set out how they plan to develop their diversity pipeline.

As part of the UK Corporate Governance Code, the FRC’s has found far too many early adopters had limited reporting on diversity, which included how they plan to tackle the lack of women in senior leadership positions.

The companies that reported well against the code were those who had clear diversity plans that went beyond gender.

Sir Jon Thompson, the former HMRC chair and now FRC CEO said: “Successful and sustainable businesses should reflect the views of shareholders and wider society with an understanding of the value greater diversity brings at both board level and throughout the business.

“Given the clear benefits greater diversity brings, we expect to see improved reporting going forward to meet the Hampton-Alexander targets.”

Sexism in the workplace

The forthcoming employment bill will include measures such as enhanced protections from pregnancy and maternity discrimination and, subject to consultation, making flexible working the default. However, companies must also address toxic workplace cultures.

One reason for the lack of women in finance director roles highlighted in the review was the everyday sexism in the workplace. Research produced for the review by the Global Institute for Women Leadership at King’s College London found higher reports of insults, angry outbursts or “silent treatment” directed at women compared to men.

In one example, 39% of women reported being targeted by angry outbursts or “temper tantrums” by someone at work, compared to 23% of men.

For leadership coach and CEO of the People Thing, Blaire Palmer, these reasons go some way in explaining the lack of women in FD roles.

“Getting more women into FD roles isn’t just about recruitment and succession planning but about culture and the way we work,” said Palmer.

“There isn’t a lack of talented women to take on these roles. But many women, particularly once they reach senior positions, are less willing to make personal sacrifices for their job than they were earlier in their careers. And [they are] less willing to tolerate toxic workplaces."

“If companies can reflect on how to make FD roles more attractive to women (and many men who are also keen to improve their work-life balance and work in a healthy culture), they might stand a better chance of attracting top women to these roles”.

Replies (1)

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By Trethi Teg
27th Feb 2020 09:34

So what!!!!

Pick the most competent person for the job. Male - fine. Female - fine.

There is no right for equal numbers and the arguement that companies who are more "diverse" are more succesful is at best subjective and probably rubbish.

PC gone mad again.

Get back to doing the job and forget this garbage.

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