Study reveals extent of gender gap in director positions
Female executive directors stay in their roles for only half the amount of time as their male counterparts, according to a recent study.
It has led to accusations that some companies may be employing female directors for ‘symbolic’ reasons, rather than for their ability.
The 2019 Female FTSE Board Report, published by Cranfield University, studied women’s roles on the boards of FTSE 350 companies, as well as the roles of senior non-executive directors in FTSE 100 companies.
It showed that on average women stayed in executive directors’ roles for 3.3 years, while men stayed for 6.6 years.
There was a considerably smaller gap for non-executive directors, who are not involved in the day-to-day decision making.
Female non-executive directors stayed in the role for an average of 3.8 years, while 4.3 years was the figure for their male counterparts.
Dr Doyin Atewologun, who co-authored the report, said: “This begs the question of whether women are appointed to FTSE 100 boards for symbolic rather than substantive reasons.”
The report also showed that only 32 out of 297 (11%) female directors at FTSE 100 companies come from a BAME background.
Fiona Cannon OBE, group director for responsible business, sustainability and inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group urged companies to use the data to work towards creating a more inclusive environment.
She said: “Every month, we look at all the data to see whether women are leaving, whether they’re being promoted. The chief of staff and myself sit down and do it. It’s that relentless attention to detail that’s important, because it can so easily go the other way.
“Unless a CEO believes that’s really important for their business, nothing is going to happen.”
Please contact Sorcha Monaghan for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.