The percentage of female non-executive director positions in the FTSE 100 is at an all-time high at 35.4%, yet the percentage of female executive positions has “flatlined” at 9.7%, according to this year’s Female FTSE Board Report.
Across the FTSE 250, the percentage of women in executive directorships has actually dropped from 7.7% to 6.4%, and the number of all male boards has increased to 10.
The report, compiled by Cranfield University, also found that, among the FTSE 250, the number of female executive directorships dropped between October 2017 and June 2018 from 38 to 30.
In addition, the Gender Pay Gap continues to plague women in the workforce. However, the top 10 companies for the proportion of women on boards had a slightly lower average pay gap than the bottom ten.
The two best performing companies were Diageo, which had 55% women on boards and a 4.1% gender pay gap, and GlaxoSmithKline, which had 45% women on boards and a 2.8% pay gap.
Both of these companies have substantial percentages of women across all four hierarchy quartiles, which the report claims may contribute to their lower gender pay gaps.
In more positive news, the percentage of women on FTSE 100 boards has increased from 27.7% to 29%, which means it may be possible to reach the target of 33% by the end of 2020. However, as Sarah Morris, chief people officer at Aviva, says, more still needs to be done:
“There has been some progress over the last 20 years, and it’s encouraging to see the biggest companies in the UK on track to hit the 33% target. But that is still only 33%. The benefits of greater diversity are clear so now it’s up to the FTSE 250 to increase their ambition.”
Professor Ruth Sealy, director of Exeter Business School’s Centre for Leadership and co-author of the report, said: “The lack of diversity amongst executives of so many FTSE companies, even in functions which have balanced or majority female intakes, reveals such poor management.
“Organisations must now be bold and decisive in designing senior roles and careers fit for the 21st century in order to optimise the available talent.”