“Voluntary quotas working” reports Hampton-Alexander review

Picking up the key themes and recommendations from the Davies’ Review, Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander’s panel has worked over the past ten months with the business community and other organisations to consider options and make recommendations aimed at boosting female representation below board-level in senior layers of FTSE 350 companies.

Raising the voluntary gender target

The government-backed review announced it is taking forward the commitment it made in July to encourage FTSE 100-listed companies voluntarily to aim for at least 33 per cent of their executive pipelinepositions to be filled by women by 2020.While every FTSE 100 board now has at least one woman on it according to statistics due to be released this week, twelve FTSE 100 companies still have no women in their executive committees. By contrast, 20 FTSE 100 companies have already achieved the voluntary target for the executive pipeline.The new data are also expected to show a small increase in the number of women appointed to board positions in the past year, taking the proportion back up to 25 per cent, after a small decline following the end of the Davies Review, which took female FTSE 100 board representation from 12.5 per cent to 26 per cent.

FTSE 350 progress on voluntary gender targets

These latest figures also find eleven boards in FTSE 350 companies that still had no women on them. While this is an all-time low, it suggests the momentum towards greater diversity at senior levels must be maintained and the ongoing need for voluntary targets.In addition to the voluntary gender targets being raised for the UK’s largest companies, the review is recommending the Financial Reporting Council amends the UK Corporate Governance Code so FTSE 350 companies must disclose the gender balance of their executive committees and direct reports to ensure transparency around how many women are in senior positions.To support FTSE 350 companies, SMEs and other major organisations achieve these targets, the government, 30% Club and Board Apprentice have announced the launch of a new Future Boards Scheme, giving senior women a unique opportunity to get board experience to progress their careers to the next level.