Businesses will be worse off while women remain rare in the talent pipeline

CMI has responded to the third annual progress report from Lord Davies of Abersoch on Women on Boards and the Cranfield University School of Management’s Female FTSE Board report.  The latest data shows that women now account for 20.7 per cent of board positions in the FTSE100, up from 12.5 per cent in 2011 and 17.3 per cent in April 2013. Lord Davies originally set a target of 25% by 2015.

CMI’s Chief Executive, Ann Francke, says: “Today’s data reveals welcome progress among leading FTSE companies in getting more women into Boardroom roles. Those that have embraced this change are to be congratulated. But when 48 of the FTSE 250 still have male-only boardrooms, it’s clear that more businesses urgently need to shake up their company cultures.

“The evidence shows that balanced boards perform better, so this is bad for business. Women can bring different perspectives to management decisions – our latest research shows that women managers have a more caring mind-set when it comes to ethical decisions at work. Businesses that don’t have diversity are more vulnerable to group-think, which can cause corporate failures.

“But the real issue we need to confront is the lack of women in the talent pipeline. Too many talented women opt out before they fulfil their potential, because business culture puts them off – so we see, for example, that only half as many men as women aim to reach CEO. That’s hardly any wonder when we still don’t have enough female role models at the top of British businesses.

“We’re making progress in the boardroom but we have to do more to make sure the talent pipeline is working for women.”