Lord Davies has recently published his third annual report on the number of women on the boards of UK FTSE companies. The reported highlighted good progress over the past year, with FTSE 100 companies collectively on course to meet their 25% target.

In his original report in February 2011, Lord Davies recommended a target of 25% female representation on the boards of FTSE 100 companies to be implemented by 2015.

For the third year running, Lord Davies has reported that a growing number of women have been appointed to the boards of UK FTSE companies. The 2014 report notes that women now make up:

  • 20.7% of the boards of FTSE 100 companies compared with 12.5% in 2011 and 17.3% in April 2013; and
  • 15.6% of the boards of FTSE 250 companies compared to 7.8% in 2011 and 13.5% in April 2013.

If progress continues at the same rate as the previous 12 months, the FTSE 100 companies should meet or exceed their 2015 target.

Further to this, a significant reduction in the number of all-male boards was reported. Only 2 FTSE 100 companies and 48 FTSE 250 companies (compared with 21 and 131 respectively in December 2010) are now reported to have all-male boards.

Commenting on the progress, Lord Davies said “The rate of change that we have seen at the heart of our biggest companies over the last 3 years has been impressive. The voluntary approach is working and companies have got the message that better balanced boards bring real business benefits. We are finally seeing a culture change taking place at the heart of British business.”

However, despite these improvements, the number of women in executive positions remains low. Women represent only 6.9% of executive directors on FTSE 100 boards and 5.3% on FTSE 250 boards. Further to this, there are only 4 female CEOs in FTSE 100 companies and 8 in FTSE 250 companies.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said “More needs to done to improve the number of women in executive positions. These will be the CEOs of tomorrow and businesses still aren’t tapping into the vast talent pool available to them.”