One in five of the UK's largest companies still have no female senior directors and less than 4% of all boardroom seats are taken up by women, research by Cranfield School of Management has revealed.
Cranfield's annual Female FTSE report indicated a severe lack of female presence in the boardroom in the UK's top 100 companies. Just 14 executive directors, one chief executive and one chair were women.
Only 30 new directors, less than 20%, recruited last year were women and the majority of them were white and in their 50s. Perhaps surprisingly, one third of female senior executives come from North America.
Professor Susan Vinnicombe, co-author of the report, said: "Action is desperately needed to address the glass ceiling. All too often women are blamed for not making the right career choices, but companies must also take responsibility for not managing this female pipeline well."
Many of the companies involved in the survey said it was difficult to retain talented women because of childcare issues, which are traditionally viewed as a female concern.