Gender equality in the boardroom of FTSE 100 companies is in danger of stalling, according to a new study which finds progress over the last 10 years has been overwhelmingly due to non-executive appointments.
The 10-year study by Beyond Analysis and business consultant David O’Brien finds that, although the number of women in senior positions increased when Lord Davies set his 25% target in 2011, the vast majority of new female directors were in non-executive positions.
Over the 10 years from 2006-2016, women made up only 22 per cent of all senior appointments and 83 per cent of those positions were non-executive roles. Less than 7 per cent of the 151 chief executive appointments were female.
Paul Alexander, founder of Brand Analysis, says: “The overall picture suggests that firms might merely have been eager to tackle the diversity issue because it was immediate or topical.
“Maintaining the push towards equality of gender, age or sexual orientation requires much more commitment from business and politicians alike.
“With Brexit consuming so much effort in Westminster, the battle to break smash through the ‘glass ceiling’ is perhaps not seen as so important now.
“I would suggest, though, that as interminable as negotiations to disentangle the UK from the EU might seem for the moment, the economy needs as many talented businessmen and women as it can muster in order to cope with the consequences of relative diplomatic isolation. That is the kind of long-term thinking which renders those who regard women as the wrong gender to lead the country’s drive for self-sufficiency as especially short-sighted.”