But while the sector has made great strides in female board representation, it is being urged to tackle the industry’s outdated ‘dirty and unglamorous’ image and to nurture talent from classroom to boardroom.
The report shows that women now account for 21 per cent of directorships in FTSE 100 manufacturing companies. They now hold 64 out of 305 manufacturing board seats – an improvement on last year when they held 59 out of 309 seats and accounted for 19 per cent of board positions.
Over a third of FTSE 100 manufacturing companies are already at, or even above, the 25 per cent target for female board representation set out within Lord Davies’ Women on Boards Report. Some companies are ahead of the game – GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever both have five female board members each, while Diageo has four, but leads in percentage terms with 44 per cent of board places taken by women.
More importantly, last year’s report identified two manufacturing companies with no female board representation – Croda International and Melrose Industries. Both now have one female board member each.
The percentage of non-executive (NED) roles going to women has grown from 23 per cent last year to 25 per cent in 2014, while executive (ED) roles remain static at eight per cent. Just under one in ten female board members are EDs, compared to one in three amongst their male peers.
In addition to looking at the state of play amongst FTSE 100 manufacturers, the report also examines some positive examples of female progression amongst SMEs. SMEs employ almost 60 per cent of manufacturing workers, with the majority of UK manufacturing businesses falling into this camp. This suggests that while it is important for women to have a voice in the boardroom, it is just as important to ensure they are reaching senior levels in SMEs too.
Real Business’ hunt for inspirational, trailblazing women, reveals some of the most talented females in their sectors. To view this years First Women Awards shortlist – including manufacturing – visit the site. Table bookings are still open for the Awards ceremony that takes place at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square on Wednesday June 12, 2014.
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