Female Leadership at Board Level Increases by 3% in 2022, FTSE Women Leaders Review Reveals

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Independent business framework FTSE Women Leaders published their annual review on women’s leadership and gender balance this past month. The main takeaway from the review is that among the FTSE 350 companies, the rate of female leadership at the board level in 2022 is 40.2% which is beyond the target of 40% and an increase of around 3% from the previous year.

This is significant progress as not only was the target achieved but it was also achieved three years before the previously set deadline. However, despite many milestones being achieved in 2022 there are still more issues to achieving true gender balance.

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Key Findings of the Review

The main achievement of surpassing the target rate of 40% women in board-level roles was reported in the report with further breakdowns based on FTSE 100, FTSE 250 AND FTSE 350. Among FTSE 100 companies, the percentage of women on boards is 40.5%. The rates are slightly different for FTSE 250 and FTSE 350 with theirs being 40.1% and 40.2% respectively. Overall, across the categories, there have been increases which have then surpassed the target.

This achievement has been said to have been done through a wholly business-led and voluntary system. Not only has this system created an excellent base for further progress, but it has also produced career paths for senior women professionals that were severely lacking in the decade prior. Further, this has also created a deep understanding of gender inequality in business due to the rich data set that is now available.

Within FTSE 100, various achievements were made. The rate of women in executive positions is 34.3% which is an increase of 1.8% from last year. Additionally, just over half of FTSE 100 companies have achieved their 40% target, and the remaining companies still have three more years to reach this target.

For FTSE 250, good progress was also made. A significant increase of 2.3% in the number of women in executive roles was seen in FTSE 250. Further, around half of FTSE 250 companies have achieved or will be reaching the 40% target of all roles going to women. This is reflected in the appointment and turnover rates of women.

In the larger category of FTSE 350, executive committees now have a rate of 27% of women representation. There has also been a decrease in all-male executive committees with only 10 companies within FTSE 350 having them.

Still More to be Done

Although the review highlighted various achievements of women’s representation in business, there is more to be done as the issue of gender inequality in business is not yet completely solved.

Among the FTSE 350 companies, there are 125 companies that have not yet surpassed the 2020 women leadership target of 33%. And for women on board level roles, there are 30 companies that are still below the 2020 board target.

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The overall progress is unfortunately not paired with the representation of women in CEO and Finance Director roles as roles are still seen to be dominated by men. The appointment rate for women did rise, but nearly 6 in 10 available roles in 2022 went to men.

They have also mentioned in the review that there are many companies that are slow to progress or act on increasing women’s representation and gender equality. An issue mentioned was that too many “bystanders” are passively tackling the issue and there is a lack of trailblazers who can lead change.

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