Aim to make British boardrooms at least 25% female by 2015… A year since the publication of the Davies Report on boardroom diversity, the author remains concerned by the speed at which changes are being implemented.
Lord Davies welcomed the fact that here had been an increase in the number of women appointed to the boardroom in the past year yet the rate of increase is not as fast as he set out in his report on improving boardroom diversity a year ago.
Lord Davies stated: “I believe that we are finally seeing a culture change taking place right at the very heart of British business in relation to how women are seen within the workforce.
“Some excellent work has taken place… However, I must also emphasise that efforts need to be ramped up and the speed of change accelerated if we’re to avoid government interference.”
The Davies report had set a target of at least 25% female representation in the boardrooms of FTSE 100 companies by 2015. The figure currently stands at 15.6% which is 3% higher than it was last year but the rate is not increasing fast enough to satisfy Lord Davies.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) had announced the “largest ever annual increase in the percentage of women on boards” but we are still some way from witnessing genuine equality and diversity at boardroom level with fewer than one directorship in ten (9.6%) being held by a woman in FTSE 250 companies.
In March 2012 the EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding launched a consultation on the implementation of compulsory quotas for the numbers of women appointed to board-level positions, a measure she felt was necessary if companies didn’t voluntarily address the issue.
The report entitled “Women on boards: one year on” examines the progress made in the last 12 months since Lord Davies made his recommendations.
The figures suggest that although some progress has been in made with 17 companies in the FTSE 100 having already reached the 25% target. A further 17 have a representation of between 20% and 25% of females in the boardroom. In addition, 21 FTSE 250 companies have reached the 25% target and a further 28 are between 20% and 25%.
The target for the 2012 is to get closer to the 25% target in FTSE 350 companies, and to provide a credible, sustainable and talented supply of board-ready women through training and development initiatives.