The number of women holding top positions in FTSE 100 firms has fallen in the past year, a new survey has revealed.
Cranfield School of Management’s 2009 Female FTSE Report details the number of women directors in the top 100 FTSE companies.
While it found the number of directorships held by women on the FTSE 100 corporate boards had remained at the same level as in 2008 at 12%, the number of companies with female executive directors had fallen from 16 to 15 on the previous year.
There was also a drop in the number of boards with multiple female directors to 37 – down from 39 in 2008.
Of the 156 new appointees to the FTSE 100 in the past year, only 23 (14.7%) were women.
Meanwhile, the number of women holding key positions in FTSE 100 companies stands at only four CEOs, compared to five female CEOs and three regional CEOs last year.
However, the report found a considerable increase in the number of women at executive committee level.
Seventy-seven of the FTSE 100 companies have a total of 175 women who are executive directors and/or listed senior executives in their top executive teams – a rise of 36 on 2008. And there are now 2,281 women on the corporate boards and executive committees/senior teams of all the FTSE listings, compared to 1,877 last year.
Professor Susan Vinnicombe OBE, co-author of the report, said: “This year’s report demonstrates unequivocally that we have a huge and growing pipeline of female talent to FTSE 100 corporate boards. We support the proposal made earlier this year of a voluntary quota of 30% women on corporate boards over the next 10 years.”
The Alliance Trust and Burberry were named top of the league for diversity. Both firms have three out of seven female board members.
Minister for equality and women Harriet Harman added: “This report shows that we are moving in the right direction and there is still much more that needs to be done. Businesses that run on the basis of an old boys’ network and do not draw on the talents of all the population will not be the ones that flourish and prosper in the 21st century.”