Captains of Industry say that despite nearly all board members on the FTSE 500 saying they are actively promoting and championing diversity and inclusion in their company (86%), a very large proportion say they have no female board members at all (71%).
Women on boards
Nearly two thirds (64%) of Captains say that their company is actively trying to increase the number of women on their main board. Captains report that 14% of their executive board are women and those businesses that are actively trying to increase the number of women on their main boards cite common themes in their policies to improve ratios. They are using set targets for shortlists and interviews through positive discrimination and usually using head-hunters. Captains are also focussing on the career development of women throughout the company by increasing opportunities from the graduate level upwards, and understanding the reasons why the number of women drop off in middle management.
Not all industries are alike. The survey found that seven out of ten (70%) Captains in the Services sector agree that they are committed to increasing women on the board, compared to 59% in the Industrial sector. Additionally, 68% Captains of companies with more than 5000 employees also said that they agree with the statement that they are actively trying to recruit more women to their main board. This is compared to 60% of Captains who have less than 1000 employees.
Geographically, while nine out of ten of Captains in London (90%) are committed to diversity in their company, this falls to eight out of ten (82%) outside of London. However, two thirds (66%) of Captains outside of London agreed that they are trying to increase the number of women on their boards, compared to 62% of those in London.
Most impressive business person
Notably, Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, remains the third most impressive business person in Britain as rated by Captains for a second year, falling only behind Sir James Dyson and Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP.
Commenting on the results, Head of Loyalty at Ipsos MORI, Helen Wilson, said:
“Our research suggests that there is still a long way to go before we see equality at board level, but it is reassuring to see that 86% of Captains of Industry are actively trying to change this. As a mother of four girls, I feel passionately about businesses providing an even playing field irrespective of gender and I hope that businesses will continue to address the issue of equality on executive boards.”
- This report presents findings of the 2016 study of Captains of Industry, widely acknowledged as the authoritative source of opinion on Britain's business elite
- Participants are executive board-level directors and chairmen
- Companies are from:
- top 500 industrials by turnover;
- top 100 financial companies by capital employed
- A total of 114 respondents took part
- Fieldwork was conducted September – December 2016; 106 interviews were conducted face-to-face and 8 by telephone