96% of FTSE 350 companies led by men

A new report shows men still dominate at the top of FTSE 350 firms where 96% of CEOs are men, but there are signs of some improvement.

woman presenting at board meeting


Ninety six per cent of CEOs at FTSE 350 companies are men, according to a new report.

The seventh annual Women Count report by The Pipeline consultancy shows that, as of May 2022,  there were 91 male CEOs and seven women CEOs [a ratio of 93% men to seven per cent women] in the FTSE 100. In the FTSE 250 there were 168 male CEOs and five female CEOs [97% to three per cent].

It says there are four more female CEOs in this year’s report compared to last year: at Taylor Wimpey PLC, a company in the FTSE 100 and at Darktrace PLC, Harbour Energy PLC and Tyman PLC in the FTSE 250. These appointments offset the decline in the percentage of female CEOs seen in previous years.

The report is the seventh annual study of women executives, their roles on Executive Committees and their impact on the performance of companies in the FTSE 350. It also shows that 82% of Chief Financial Officers in the FTSE 350 are male and 18% are women, with hardly any progress on gender equality in CFOs in recent years.

However,  the report shows the percentage of women in Profit and Loss (P&L) roles in FTSE 350 companies is 16.1%, the highest percentage in the last seven years. These roles are seen as stepping-stone roles to the CEO job. However, nearly half of FTSE 350 companies have no women in P&L roles. The report states: “This has a direct impact on women’s chances of promotion and advancement within these companies, and sends a negative signal about the companies’ practices and internal culture.”

The three companies with the highest percentage of women on their Executive Committees are Law Debenture Corporation PLC, Dunelm Group PLC and Halma PLC, the same as the previous year.

Year-on-year, the relative change in the percentage of women on Executive Committees is 15.6%, compared to last year’s 3.1%. Nevertheless, in the FTSE 350 companies, on average three-quarters of the members of Executive Committees are men and a quarter are women. Three out of four executives working their way up are men, with women executives having far fewer female role-models and fewer opportunities for promotion. Twenty five companies have no women on their Executive Committees.

Moreover, nearly 70% of FTSE companies have no female executive directors at all on their main boards. This number is steadily decreasing, says the report, but it comments that progress is “glacial” and that “the absence of women is self-perpetuating”.

The report shows a link between profit and diversity and says moving to balanced Executive Committees on the FTSE 350 could boost GDP by around 2.5%. But, despite this, it says “the overwhelming majority of companies have failed to adequately address the issue of gender diversity. This is holding British business back, at a time when our top companies need every competitive advantage going.”

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