For the first time in history, the proportion of women on the boards of Britain’s largest companies has reached 30% – an increase from just 9.5% back in 2010.
Board diversity is crucial; not just in terms of gender, but also ethnicity, age, socioeconomic background, as well as professional diversity, to increase the different perspectives represented on the board.
The benefits of having a diverse board are numerous. Organisations with more diverse boards are more adaptable to change, increase profits, can improve their reputation and brand, and can more easily keep up with market trends.
However, with government targets and mounting public pressure to widen gender diversity on boards, there is a worry that many big companies are recruiting women as board members mainly to tick boxes. There is mounting evidence that women have shorter tenures and are less likely to be promoted into senior roles than their male counterparts – the average term for women on boards is 3.3 years, compared to 6.6 years for men.
Luckily, there are a number of groups that address these issues, connecting women with board vacancies that tie in with their expertise, and promoting the benefits of board diversity to companies. Women On Boards is an organisation specifically set up to break down the barriers of the board room, providing encouragement, advice and connections; they also help women to understand their transferable skills, and point them in the direction of a board that could be right for them.
There’s no doubt that the face of the boardroom is changing. In ten years, female board membership has tripled. In another ten, who knows where we could be?
Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership currently have several vacancies for boards across the Liverpool City Region. For more information visit: https://www.liverpoollep.org/work-with-us/