Number of women on UK company boards reaches highest-ever level

Andrew Griffiths

New data to mark International Women’s Day reveals that more women than ever before are on boards of the UK’s largest companies.

These figures show 309 positions – almost 29% – of FTSE100 board positions are held by women, up from 12.5% in 2011. In FTSE 350 companies, the number of women chairs has risen from 17 to 20 while the number of women on boards has increased to 25.2%.

If progress matches the same gains made over the last three years then a third of board positions will be filled by women by 2020 – the target set by the Government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths today urged businesses to renew their commitment to tackling gender inequality.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “International Women’s Day is about celebrating women’s achievements and I am delighted to see that a record number of our largest companies’ board positions are now filled by women.

“There has been a lot of progress in recent years with high-flying women breaking down barriers to more than double the number of women on FTSE 100 boards but there is still a lot more to do to ensure that women are not held back in the workplace.”

Sir Philip Hampton, chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review said: “Today is a day to celebrate the efforts of all women and men who have worked hard to ensure a women’s place is absolutely in the boardroom.

“British business and the UK economy are all the better for it and we have now created a strong platform on which to build.”

Under new laws, over 1,400 companies have reported their gender pay gaps revealing an overall pay gap of 18.4%. All companies with more than 250 employees must report their gender pay gaps by April 4th (30th March for the public sector).

Tackling the gender pay gap is part of the Industrial Strategy Government’s long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future, with the ambition to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs and ensure everyone can be successful in the workplace. Bridging the gender pay gap could add £150 billion to the UK economy by 2025.