Figures released this week show that for the first time ever the FTSE 250 could meet the 33% target for women in senior leadership positions if current progress is maintained. 

Women on boards
Women on Boards

Launched in 2016, the government-backed independent Hampton-Alexander Review set FTSE 350 businesses a target of having 33% of all board and senior leadership positions held by women by the end of 2020. Today’s figures show that if progress matches the same gains made over the last 3 years, then FTSE 100 companies are on track to meet the 2020 target.

The companies in the FTSE 350 who still have all male boards were named and shamed as part of the report and include:

  • Daejan Holdings
  • TR Property Investments
  • Ferrexpo
  • Kainos Group (joined the FTSE on 24 June)
Holding companies to account for lack of gender diversity does seem to be helping to balance the scales, but still more needs to be done to ensure there is a pipeline of young female talent being nurtured by these businesses to future proof the progress. 

Progress on closing the gender pay gap is still slow despite companies being asked to publish their data. This shows that beyond board level little impact is being made.  So while these new figures are encouraging, we hope more is done to look at supporting women right along the journey. Developing leadership skills early on, understanding that flexible working practices need to apply to management as well as their teams, ensuring women are offered the same opportunities as their male counterparts and can see role models who will encourage their development – all of this takes work and the buy in from those in charge. 

Here’s hoping these positive figures won’t leave these companies and the government feeling that the job has been done in terms of gender equality in the workplace.  Instead let’s hope it is a catalyst for further change that will make a real difference to gender equality in the workplace at all levels.

The full The 2019 Hampton-Alexander Report will be published on the 13 November 2019 giving those companies who haven’t yet responded to prompts to look at their gender balance time to take action.