Three-quarters of companies are seeking to put more women on the board

24 May

Board diversity is top of the agenda for three-quarters of the company secretaries, shareholders and non-executive directors that business advisory firm Deloitte spoke to for its At the Helm survey.

Firms are beginning to brief their headhunters and recruitment consultants to broaden the diversity of candidates put forward – though the survey adds: “Although a board is likely to be more effective if it is has a good balance of skills, background and diversity of personal experience, specific issues of gender, age and nationality are less important.”

One in 10 executive board appointments are being filled by women – and almost 30% of FTSE 350 non-executive board appointments in the past year were women, which is more than double the overall proportion of women on boards.

Carol Arrowsmith, partner in the executive compensation team at Deloitte, said: “It is extremely encouraging that since Lord Davies published his report on women on boards, almost a third of non-executive appointments in FTSE 350 companies have been women. However, we also need to look hard at the number of female executive appointments. This is where many of the non-executive directors of the future are likely to emerge from and we are still seeing only one in 10 recent executive director appointments filled by a woman. This is an improvement on the overall number of executive positions held by women, which stands at around one in every 20, but it is not enough.”

She added that Deloitte’s Navigating the Boardroom programme was designed to “familiarise women with the skills and language which will help them find their way successfully onto a board”. She added: “We hope this programme will help increase the number of women taking board positions.”


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