Britain’s biggest firms need to appoint more women to executive posts, according to the author of a landmark report into boardroom gender equality.
Lord Davies also said that women should account for a third of boardroom positions within the next five years.
He said today that a target set in 2011 for women to make up 25 per cent of FTSE 100 boards by the end of this year has been met, with the figure currently standing at 26 per cent and none of the boards remaining all-male.
However, 260 of the 286 women on boards are non-executive director, with only 26 – or less than 10 per cent – holding the key decision-making positions on executive committees.
Lord Davies said there had been “a cultural change in the UK corporate scene” over the past four years, but said it was time for big companies to make similar progress in the top jobs.
But he dismissed calls for official mandatory quotas of female bosses, insisting that it was best to take the same voluntary approach with executive posts as his report did with boardrooms.
His report urged further action to make sure than more women are appointed to the roles of chair, senior independent director and executive director positions on the boards of FTSE 350 companies.
It also called for the voluntary target for female representation on FTSE 350 boards to be raised, with a minimum of 33 per cent to be achieved within the next five years.
In response, the CBI’s interim chief policy director, Matthew Fell, said: “The UK’s voluntary approach is working, so it’s right that this report sets business a stretching new voluntary target.
“Businesses must now keep up the momentum by continuing to work on building the talent pipeline, increasing the representation of women in executive roles and narrowing the gender pay gap.”
Fell added: “UK companies want to continue leading on this agenda, but the government can do more to help by extending free childcare, promoting the benefits of flexible working and tackling occupational stereotypes in schools.”