FOR the first time women make up more than a third of all board members in top 350 companies in the UK.
New data shows that there has been a considerable increase in representation of women on the boards of the FTSE 350 companies.
However, 41 per cent of FTSE 350 companies have not reached 33 per cent woman representation on their boards.
Business secretary Alok Sharma has demanded companies to take action to ensure more women representation by the end of December 2020 target.
In 2016, the independent, government sponsored Hampton-Alexander Review set a series of recommendations to drive the representation of women on boards of top 350 companies in the UK.
Representation of women at the top of business has risen by 3.8 per cent in last year despite the challenges created by the pandemic, latest figures showed.
It also revealed that 19 boards within the top 250 companies have only a single woman board member. There is also one all-male board compared to 152 all-male boards in 2011.
“While I am pleased that the FTSE 350 as a whole has finally hit this historic landmark, more than 100 of the UK’s top companies have failed to meet the target,” said Alok Sharma.
“Research shows that diverse leadership teams are more innovative and make better decisions. As the UK economy continues to recover from coronavirus, increasing representation of women on boards represents a golden opportunity not only to rebuild, but build back better.”
In February, the Investment Association (IA) and the Hampton-Alexander Review jointly wrote to around 40 companies in the top 350, with one woman or less on their board, regarding their ‘lack of gender diversity’.
Denise Wilson OBE, chief executive of the Hampton Alexander Review said that it was encouraging to see the number of women at the top of British business continue to increase.
“This confirms the UK’s business-led voluntary approach is working and the benefits of diversity are being recognised, with business seeking more than ever those with fresh energy, new ideas and diverse perspectives.”
Sir Phillip Hampton, chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review said that the target was achieved due to the ‘collective and inclusive’ efforts of all of our stakeholders in the past decade.
“Although good progress has been made with many companies recently appointing additional women to their boards and senior leadership teams, some laggards remain,” Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association.
“Diversity results in better decision-making and plays an essential role in a company’s long-term success and investors expect companies, at a minimum, to meet the target set.”
Companies can submit their own gender data via a secure portal on the Hampton-Alexander Review website.
The portal will open on 2 November for the final report, and will close on 30 November, an official statement said.