Private businesses urged to raise boardroom gender parity

The FTSE Women Leaders Review has outlined a 40% target for women on boards by 2025 for FTSE 350 companies.

woman presenting at board meeting


FTSE 350 companies will be expected to increase women’s representation to at least 40% of both boards and leadership teams by the end of 2025, according to a report by the FTSE Women Leaders Review.

The 40% target will apply also to the largest 50 private companies in the UK by sales.

The Review, which replaces the former Hampton-Alexander review and monitors women’s representation on boards, has also set a voluntary goal for 2025 for companies to have a woman in at least one of four key positions: board chair, senior independent director, chief executive and or finance director.

The report charts recent progress, saying female representation on boards currently stands at an average of 39.1% across the FTSE 100, 36.8% across the FTSE 250 and 37.6% for the FTSE 350.

The number of women in Chair roles across the FTSE 350 rose to 48, up from 39 in 2020, and there has been a significant decrease in the number of ‘One & Done’ boards to just six this year. Moreover, there are over 700 more women in Leadership roles in the FTSE 350 companies this year, increasing women’s representation to 31.5%, an increase of 2% year-on-year.

However, only one in three leadership roles and around 25% of all executive committee roles are held by women and there are very few women in the CEO role. Equally, there are still many companies yet to hit the former 33% target set by the Hampton Alexander Review.

Denise Wilson, Chief Executive, FTSE Women Leaders Review said: “We know there is much more work to do and no shortage of experienced, capable women, ambitious for themselves and their company across all sectors of business today. So while we continue to build on progress for women on boards, we need to firmly shift focus in this next phase to women in leadership roles at the top of the organisation.”

KPMG and Lloyds Banking Group will be the corporate sponsors for FTSE Women Leaders Review in this next phase.

Meanwhile, Barclays is preparing to name Anna Cross as group chief financial officer, marking further progress for gender diversity at the top of UK banking. Cross will replace Tushar Morzaria, who has held the role for more than eight years. Her appointment will make Cross the first woman to hold any of the top three roles at Barclays.

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