FTSE 350 urged to step up to meet 2020 women on boards targets

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More women than ever before are on the boards of the UK’s largest companies but they still have some way to go to meet the target of 33% women by 2020, according to new data revealed today (27 June) to mark the halfway point of a government-backed review.

Figures released today by the Hampton-Alexander Review, which aims to ensure that talented women at the top of business are recognised, promoted and rewarded show 305 positions – 29% of FTSE 100 board positions – are held by women, up from 12.5% in 2011.

Launched in 2016, the government-backed 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 statistics show that if progress matches the same gains made over the last three years, then FTSE 100 companies are on track to meet the 2020 target.

However, today’s announcement also revealed that while the number of women on boards has increased to 25.5% in FTSE 350 companies, around 40% of all appointments need to go to women in the next 2 years for the FTSE 350 to achieve the 33% target.

While some FTSE 350 companies are on track to meet the government-backed targets for women on boards, others are lagging behind. These have today been urged to emulate success stories of the 80-plus companies already at or beyond the 33% such as hospitality company Whitbread, alcoholic drinks company Diageo, and fashion retailer Next.

Sir Philip Hampton, Chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review said: “It is good to see progress of women on boards continuing with the FTSE100 likely to hit the 33% target in 2020. However, nearly half of all available board appointments in the run up to 2020 now need to go to women if the FTSE 350 are to meet the target.

“Far too many companies still have no women – or only one woman – on their board. Meanwhile, progress in executive and leadership positions is eagerly awaited as the portal for companies to submit their gender data opens today.

“We’ll be analysing the data on women in executive leadership roles and hope to see increasing numbers of women joining Executive Committees, or reporting to ExCo members, in the FTSE 350.”

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