A new study finds fewer women on boards outside the FTSE 350.
Just 48% of the 261 listed firms outside of the FTSE 350 have met the 33% target for women in the boardroom and 54% have all male executive leadership teams, according to a report by Women on Boards UK.
The report, The Hidden Truth, covers the full FTSE listed companies and says the 48% and 54% figures compares to 65% and 8% for FTSE 350 firms where there is more scrutiny. Ninety eight companies outside the FTSE 350 have companies have either one or no women on their boards which Women on Boards says is evidence that some companies are at best paying lip service to diversity targets. However, for 48 companies at least half of their board are women, pointing to a huge diversity gap.
The Women on Boards UK report also revealed a gender pay gap of 20.2% on average across the FTSE 350 and 17% for the remainder of the FTSE All-Share – both higher than the 13.7% national average. The average bonus pay gap is 44.6% for FTSE 350 companies, compared to 36% for the FTSE All-Share companies and 20% nationally. The research also showed that only 3% of board members in listed firms outside of the FTSE 350 are “directors of colour”, with these distributed across just 16% of companies, and that 16% have female chairs and 7% have female CEOs.
Women on Boards is calling for more scrutiny of the number of individual FTSE All-Share companies reaching board and executive diversity targets, rather than focusing on overall collated data, for all listed companies to report their gender pay gap, for FTSE All-Share companies to aim to reach the ‘gold standard’ of 40: 40: 20 gender balance and for all data on diversity to be standardised to enhance clarity and transparency.
The news comes as data from recruitment platform Move Me On and employment data agency Payspective reveals a gender pay gap in senior positions, with male directors earning as much as 23% more than women, half of which comes from bonuses. It shows a 9% gap at the associate level, 6% of which is due to unequal bonuses. The gap at management level is 5%, with 1% being due to bonus pay. The study found that the gender pay gap in 2020 was 22% compared to 19% in 2019 and 25% in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that the Government is likely to leave it up to employers to decide whether and when their staff should return to the office when the guidance on working from home is lifted. The paper says it has been told that the Government will not exhort people to go back to the office as it did last September when England relaxes its restrictions further. England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have all announced a delay in easing restrictions until July due to the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus.
There has also been speculation on whether the Government will legislate for a right to work from home, possibly through legislation that makes flexible working the default option, with a government spokesman dismissing this suggestion yesterday, but pointing to discussions on making flexible working easier.