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The fifth and final report from the Hampton-Alexander Review has been published, following the 2020 deadline which required FTSE 350 companies to have at least 33% female representation on the board and in senior leadership roles. The report notes that ‘enormous’ progress has been made in relation to women in senior leadership positions over the last ten years, although this is principally in non-executive director roles.
The review was designed to report on and increase the representation of women in senior leadership positions and on boards of the FTSE 350 companies, from 2016 to 2020. It was an independent, voluntary and business-led initiative, which has been supported by the government. In his introductory letter to the report, Sir Philip Hampton highlighted that ‘enormous progress’ has been made and that women now make up around 40%, in aggregate, of non-executive directors on FTSE 350 boards. However, he emphasised that there is a ‘continuing challenge’, as women still represent only 14% of the executive directors in the FTSE 100.
Sir Hampton notes that the proportion of women executives on Executive Committees is also relatively low, despite recent progress, (around a quarter, with 92% of women on boards in non-executive director roles, versus 8% of women as executive directors), and that this ‘pipeline’ is key to developing the position of senior women on boards. Amongst areas that were identified as needing a lot more work was the lack of females in top positions such as CEO, Senior Independent Director and CFO. The report highlighted that only about a third of women occupy Chair and Senior Independent Directors. Furthermore, as executive positions are more highly remunerated than non-executive directors, the gender disparities contribute to substantial gender pay gaps.
Currently, the FTSE 100 only has 8 female CEOs following the recent appointment of Jette Nygaard-Andersen at the helm of Entain in January 2021. Nygaard-Anderson was previously a non-executive director at the FTSE 100 gambling company, having been appointed in 2019. Of the remaining 7, Amanda Blanc, CEO of Aviva, and Milena Mondini de Focatiis, CEO of Admiral, were appointed in 2020. While most companies have reached the 33% target, research conducted by Market Tracker for the 2020 AGM season highlighted that, for FTSE 100 companies, there were 21 new female appointments to the board within three months of the annual report being compiled. For 12 of these companies, the appointments resulted in female board representation exceeding 33%, demonstrating a last-minute attempt to boost numbers.
The FTSE 350 still appears to be struggling to increase female representation amongst senior management, with only 30% of the FTSE 350 reaching the target. While this figure remains low, Market Tracker has noted sustained improvement over the past five years, with 62% of FTSE 100 companies boasting over 25% female representation at senior management level, up from 58% in 2019.
Sir Philip Hampton laid out four key recommendations for a range of stakeholders:
Key statistics from the report include:
See also, Market Tracker’s trend report on Ethnicity in Corporate Governance Reporting, for more information on diversity and inclusion in publicly listed companies.
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Market Tracker is a unique service for corporate lawyers housed within Lexis®PSL Corporate. It features a powerful transaction data analysis tool for accessing, analysing and comparing the specific features of corporate transactions, with a comprehensive and searchable library of deal documentation across 14 different deal types. The Market Tracker product also includes news and analysis of key corporate deals and activity and in-depth analysis of recent trends in corporate transactions.
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