Gender gap closing in UK board rooms

More than a third (34.3%) of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women, with the number of women on boards increasing by 50% over the last 5 years, data released today (Wednesday 24 February) shows, representing a dramatic shift in representation at the very highest levels of British business.

The data has been published in the final report from the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review, which was launched in 2016 to encourage UK-listed companies to appoint more women to their boards and into senior leadership positions.

While men still dominate in the upper ranks of the UK’s top firms, in 5 years the Review has seen remarkable progress among FTSE companies. In total, 220 of the FTSE 350 companies now meet the Hampton-Alexander target of having at least 33% of their board positions held by women – with the figure having quadrupled from just 53 in 2015, and there are no longer any all-male boards in the FTSE 350.

The figures also show an increase in women in wider senior leadership roles, demonstrating that Hampton-Alexander’s top-down approach – with boardrooms setting the standards for women’s representation across the company – is providing pathways to success for women and ultimately supporting British business to strengthen leadership with new ideas and diverse perspectives that come from more women in senior positions.

Data

Oct 2015

Jan 2021

Number of women on boards in FTSE 350

682

1,026

Representation of women on boards in FTSE 350 (as a %)

21.9%

34.3%

Number of all-male boards in FTSE 350

15

0

Number of companies with 33% women on boards in FTSE 350

53

220

Number of boards with only one woman (One & Done)

116

16

Representation of women in leadership roles in FTSE 350 (as a %)

24.5% (in 2017,
when data collection began)

29.4%

The FTSE 250 reached the Hampton-Alexander Review’s final target of women making up 33% of boards in December 2020, following the FTSE 100 and FTSE 350, which achieved the milestone in February and September 2020 respectively, highlighting the success of the government’s voluntary, business-led approach in addressing the exclusion of women from the top of FTSE companies.

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