Corporates racing to meet gender diversity targets for women in senior roles ahead of deadline

Corporates racing to meet gender diversity targets for women in senior roles ahead of deadline

womenonboards_infographic_landscapeImproving diversity and closing pay gaps still remain an issue across the legal sector and FTSE 350 companies, despite progress having been made in the past 5 years.

This week the government has launched a consultation into reducing the gender pay gap, calling for companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees. The government are also "taking action to make sure workplaces are fit for the 21st century, so that more women can reach senior positions" with a number of initiatives including promising more free hours of childcare per week.

Life has changed and the way we do business has changed; the mindset of individuals is changing but there is still some way to go. Helena Morrissey, founder of the 30% Club, indicates that whilst in 2010 at the beginning of the campaign to increase the percentage of women on boards to 30% by 2015, some chairmen saw the issue as "a women's issue", this has now completely changed. Our latest Market Tracker Trend Report: Women on boards - mid year update 2015 shows that there are now no all male boards in FTSE 100 companies and only 7.6% of FTSE 250 companies (19 companies).

Our own analysis of the latest mid-year statistics indicates that "whilst FTSE 350 companies are continuing to improve gender balance on their boards, the figures showing low levels of appointments of women to executive director roles should set alarm bells ringing" (Eleanor Kelly, Solicitor in the LexisPSL Corporate team).

Diversity in law firm leadership

Law firm leadership, whilst improving, still also has a way to go. Statistics from 2014 show that only 22% of partners in the UK's largest law firms were female. Hannah Lynn, solicitor in the Employment team at Stewarts Law, in a guest post for this blog on International Women's Day 2015, says that promoting gender equality is business critical:

"Whilst some law firms have implemented gender targets and diversity programs to try to boost the number of female lawyers at the top, the concern is that such policies are too piecemeal and reactive rather than proactive."

Funke Abimbola, managing counsel for Roche Products Limited and diversity champion, in another guest post for this blog,

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