Despite progress FTSE 100 boardrooms still overwhelmingly male

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Almost a third of companies are yet to meet the 33% target on boardroom diversity, according to a study. Photo: Getty
Almost a third of companies are yet to meet the 33% target on boardroom diversity, according to a study. Photo: Getty

Women occupy 36% of current board roles in FTSE 100 (^FTSE) companies, an improvement on numbers seen in 2015, but still some way off from a 50-50 split.

The boardrooms of the country’s top businesses have long been male-dominated spaces, with the government recommending back in 2015 that the boards of all FTSE 350 companies should be 33% by 2020.

According to research by graduate recruitment app Debut, almost a third of companies are yet to meet the 33% target.

The research collated data from the websites of FTSE 100 companies in September 2020.

The research also showed that just nine out of 100 companies have achieved a 50-50 split (with just five currently employing more female directors than male).

Least diverse board rooms. Graphic: Debut
Least diverse board rooms. Graphic: Debut

While all of the FTSE 100 companies had at least two women on their board, there were a number where women made up less than a quarter of board members, including Antofagasta (ANTO.L) (20% female) and Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY) (21%).

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On the other hand, the research showed many companies are leading the way, going well beyond the 33% target, to achieve an equal balance of at least 50-50 at board level, including Diageo (DEO) (63% female), Auto Trader Group (AUTO.L), Rightmove (RMV.L), Severn Trent (SVT.L), and Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) (all 54%).

Looking at how things break down across different sectors, the construction and materials industry was the only one to achieve a 50-50 male-female split at boardroom level, closely followed by oil and gas producers (46% female) and media and personal goods (both 45%).

However, 11 (28%) of industries still fell below the government target, with those in the industrial metals and mining industry having the fewest female board members (22%), followed by food producers (25%) and food and drug retailers (28%).

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