The FTSE 250 fails on women targets

Stat of the day: Just 9.4% of board members in FTSE 250 companies are women.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The FTSE 100 fares a little better, with women taking 14.9% of the seats at board level. But both figures fall woefully short of targets set out by Lord Davies at the beginning of last year. By 2015, he said, 25% of the boards at FTSE 350 companies should be women. These aren't quotas, mind, just recommendations. Perhaps this explains why, with 2015 just three years away, we're less than halfway there.

And there isn't about to be a sudden surge in women at senior level, either. According to new research from executive search firm Norman Broadbent, the FTSE 100 won't hit the target 'one in four' ratio until 2017. And the FTSE 250 will lag behind even further: it will take four years for these firms to make the grade.

But the tide is beginning to turn, albeit slowly. In the past year, 26% of non-executive director appointments in the FTSE 100 were female; 9% of executive directors were women too. There's been less of a seachange in the FTSE 250, however, where these figures are 24% and 7% respectively.

While women stand a better chance of getting to the top in the retail, technology, media and health sectors, the industrial sector is still an overwhelmingly masculine environment. Take Glencore and Xtrata, both making headlines in the business press today. There are no women at all at board level in either corporation. If the merger goes ahead, creating a combined market cap of $90bn (Xcore is the MT coinage), this will be even less acceptable.

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