Diversity in tech has a long way to go in all aspects. While progress is slowly being made in some areas, others still appear to be at a standstill. The same can be said for the number of executive board members, according to a new report from Women on Boards UK and business consulting firm Protiviti.
The report, ‘The Hidden Talent: Diversity & Inclusion in the FTSE All-Share‘, monitors the gender representation on FTSE All-Share and AIM-listed boards.
While the number of women on FTSE All-Share boards has continued to rise this year (40 per cent), but the new report highlights concerns about the lack of skills and diversity of expertise among FTSE All-Share executive board members.
New data reveals that just 2.3 per cent of executive board members hold positions other than CEO, CFO or company secretary and only ten per cent of executive board directors are women.
Fiona Hathorn, CEO and co-founder of Women on Boards, said: “The responsibilities of the board have continued to evolve over the past decade and yet the focus remains on traditional skill sets such as finance, operations and CEO experience. Skills such as social responsibility, human resources or marketing, show negligible presence in the boardroom.
“Traditional skills and leadership experience are of course desirable but companies must take a more holistic view and ensure an optimal mix of expertise to navigate the changing business landscape.
“It’s time to redefine ‘board-ready talent’ and by doing so we believe we will also see improvements in diversity targets for gender and ethnicity representation in the boardroom”.
‘An opportunity for our largest listed companies to transform their business for the better’
Gender diversity programmes helped along by three consecutive government-backed schemes have pushed the proportion of women holding boardroom roles across FTSE 350 companies from 9.5 per cent in 2011 to 40.2 per cent in 2023.
Women on Boards also revealed it has been measuring gender diversity in the FTSE All-Share firms below the top 350 listed companies and has seen numbers improve from 48 per cent of firms not achieving a target of 33 per cent women on boards in 2021 – to just 16 per cent in 2023.
Despite these improvements, the FTSE Women Leaders Review has set a goal for 40 per cent female representation. This move supports Women on Boards’ own long-held campaign aim of 40:40:20 being truly representative.
In addition, the FTSE Women Leaders Review and the Financial Conduct Authority, have outlined that one of the four most influential roles should be held by a woman: CEO, CFO, SID or Chair.
Nineteen per cent of FTSE 100 does not meet these targets, rising to 36 per cent FTSE 250, 41 per cent FTSE All-Share ex350 and 73 per cent among Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listed companies are yet to reach this goal.
Fiona Hathorn explained that, while clear progress has been made in some areas, others still require urgent attention: “Since we started these reports three years ago, we’re pleased with the progress made on women non-executive directors outside of the FTSE 350 but just having women in NED roles is not sufficient to have an impact on the executive pipeline. This report is an opportunity for our largest listed companies, FTSE All-Share and AIM to take action and make meaningful changes that will help to transform their business for the better”.