There has been no improvement in the last year in the number of women on the Executive Committees of the UK’s FTSE 350 companies with 262 having no women executives on their main board, according to a new report.
The report by the Executive Pipeline shows the percentage of women on Executive Committees across the FTSE 350 has stayed the same at 16% over the last 12 months and that more FTSE 350 companies since 2016 now have no women on their Executive Committee.
FTSE 350 companies with no women on their Executive Committee perform the worst of all groups on net profit margin, says the report, with profit margins almost double in companies with at least 25% females on their Executive Committee compared to those with none.
The report also looks at the roles women executives hold. It says the percentage of FTSE 350 women executives in profit and loss (P&L) roles has dropped from 38% to 35%. More companies have no women on their executive committees with P&L roles (147 companies, an increase of 16 since 2016). Just 6% of Executive Committee members are women in P&L roles.
Some 60% of women on FTSE 350 Executive Committees hold functional roles such as HR, marketing, legal or compliance, says the report. There are 791 Executive Directors on main plc boards, only 65 of these are women, meaning women represent less than 10%. Some 262 companies have no women executives on their Main Board. And the companies that do have women executives on their main plc board, in most cases only have one woman.
The study found that once in role women promote more women to senior roles than men do. FTSE 350 companies with a female CEO have, on average:
Electricity, Oil, Gas, Steam, Waste and Water are highlighted as good performers, says the report.
The Executive Pipeline is calling for companies to begin by increasing the number of women in the most senior roles as these will act as good role models for others and help increase numbers. It says they should invest in leadership development for women, set public targets and reward progress, champion sponsorship, lead from the top and recognise “unconscious aversion” to promoting women into senior roles. It also highlights “the attainment trap” whereby women are appointed based on their attainment while men are appointed for their potential.