Tag Archives: women on the board

Welsh government commits to 40% quota for women on public boards

4 Mar

The Welsh government has set a target for women to make up 40% of public appointments, according to a report on the BBC website.

While most organisations have stopped short of applying quotas to encourage more women into senior positions, the Welsh government points to the example of Sport Wales. The body trebled the number of women applying to join its board after making the application wording and process more ‘gender friendly’. T board went from eight men and one woman to five women and nine men in 2012.

Equalities Minister Jane Hutt says Sport Wales sets an ideal example for other organisations to follow. The BBC quotes her as saying: “”Our programme for government includes a commitment to ensure that at least 40% of appointments to public roles in Wales are women, but we need all organisations to play their part in helping us achieve this ambitious target.”

This announcement comes days before International Women’s Day 2013. Expect lots more debate on the pros and cons of boardroom gender quotas.


Women on the board are good for business

5 Aug

Companies with at least one woman on their boards outperform those with no women at the top table. That’s according to a study by the Credit Suisse Research Institute.

womaneer women on the board

Having women on the board improves company performance by 26%. (pic: istockphoto.com/AlexanderImage)

Its report Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance analysed the performance of 2,400 companies with and without female board directors over six years. Its main conclusion during that period is that companies with at least one woman on the board outperform companies with no women on the board by 26% – and they perform better when markets are falling.

Why is this? The report identifies six reasons why gender diversity is good for business:

  1. It’s a sign of a better company, and is a signal that the business is already doing well.
  2. A diverse board makes all members of the board put in a better performance.
  3. It gives a better balance of leadership skills, because women are generally good at mentoring and coaching.
  4. It gives access to a wider talent pool.
  5. It’s a better reflection of the consumer decision maker.
  6. More women improve corporate governance.

The report concludes: “The debate around the topic has shifted from an issue of fairness and equality to a question of superior performance. If gender diversity on the board implies a greater probability of corporate success then it would make sense to pursue such an objective regardless of any government directive.”

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.”

Majority of headhunters believe Davies report will fail

6 Apr

The majority of headhunters believe the recommendations in the Davies report could backfire and lead to positive discrimination, according to a survey by InterExec.

The company spoke to 80 senior executive headhunters, 80% of whom said companies would fail to meet the Davies target of 25% female board representation by 2015. There is also a fear among 83% of headhunters that by trying to fill those quotas, excellent candidates may be turned down because firms need to make up their female numbers. In other words, it could lead to positive discrimination.

However, 61% of head-hunters (twice as many as last year’s survey) agree that firms should more than double the women on their boards by 2015.

Kit Scott-Brown, managing director of InterExec, said: “The most important outcome of any recruitment process is that the best candidate gets the role. Any kind of discrimination, positive or otherwise, is not in the employer’s interest. Although the recruitment industry agrees that there is a need for greater representation of women in the boardroom, every appointment should be on merit alone.”

New mentoring scheme aims to boost boardroom presence for women in travel

15 Mar

The Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE) and Women 1st have teamed up to offer a new mentoring scheme to boost the careers of women working in travel, hospitality and leisure.

With the importance of mentoring and sponsorship cited as a key driver in helping women reach the heights of their organisations, this is an exciting and welcomed step for women in these sectors to focus on their professional development with the guidance of women who have learned lessons on their journeys to the top.

Women 1st has been running a mentoring scheme in the hospitality sector for two and a half years, and now aims, in its initiative with AWTE, to match up mentors and mentees across different levels in the travel and tourism sector. Mentors will help build confidence, skills and self-belief in mentees as they strive to run their own businesses and aim for boardroom roles.

Mentors can sign up to the scheme for free, but mentees’ employers will be required to pay £300. At the launch event, 17 women signed up to be mentors and mentees. AWTE is holding a training session to guide mentors in their roles on 17 May.

Are recruiters key to boardroom diversity?

28 Feb

How hard can it be to find competent women to perform boardroom roles? (pic credit: istockphoto.com/tiler84)

Boardroom quotas? Who wants them – really?

Who wants to be a woman chosen just to make up the numbers? And who wants to be a man sitting elbow-to-elbow with a woman at the polished table of power, believing she ‘s only there for quantity rather than quality?

In some circles, quotas amount to positive discrimination: women and ethnic minorities should only ever be promoted/appointed on merit, and on the basis of being absolutely the right person for the job. In other circles, quotas are being discussed in terms of a grudging necessity, or a dragging inevitability. A survey from White Water Group revealed that two-thirds of senior women believe that quotas may be the only way to achieve Lord Davies’ target of 25% female board representation by 2015.

Yet a year on from the Davies report, and quotas are the hot potato that no one wants to grasp or end up lumbered with. Among the many surveys that have been carried out to mark the one-year anniversary, it is the comments from recruitment firms that stand out.

Instead of being victims of the story here – wringing our hands and wondering whether governmental intervention will sort out a problem Continue reading

Are senior women accepting the inevitability of the ‘blunt instrument’ of boardroom quotas?

24 Feb

Two-thirds of senior female leaders believe compulsory quotes are necessary to achieve targets of 25% female representation by 2015, according to a poll from leadership consultancy White Water Group.

A year on from the Davies report, which set out the 25% target, two-thirds of the women polled – from 30 corporate women’s networks representing 10,000 female employees – had seen no improvement in female advancement in their organisations. 80% believe it will take up to 20 years to reach 30% women on the board, and 20% think it will take longer than that. 66.7% believe that self-regulation is not enough, and that quotas may be necessary.

Averil Leimon, co-founder of White Water Group, said: “The women we spoke to don’t feel that change is going fast enough or far enough. Quotas may be a blunt instrument but they may be inevitable.

“However, we don’t believe that compulsion will be enough to create change and reap the benefits of a more diverse management team. Many women want more visible involvement from men, who will support the business case for more women in senior posts. This means mentoring, coaching, encouraging more female role models ,and improving fairness in working practices.”

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