Press release

Business must keep up the momentum to reach 25% women on boards target - Cable

Women representation on FTSE 100 boards continues to increase.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Women representation on FTSE 100 boards continues to increase, but Business Secretary Vince Cable has cautioned that companies must not let up in their efforts to deliver 25% gender diversity to their boardrooms by 2015.

On 2 October 2014, statistics show that:

  • FTSE 100 – women’s representation on boards has increased to 22.8% - up from 20.7% in March 2014
  • FTSE 250 – women’s representation on boards has increased to 17.4% - up from 15.6% in March 2014

There are no all-male boards in the FTSE 100 as of July 2014. 20 more boards in the FTSE 250 have appointed at least one woman since March 2014 but 28 all-male boards remain. Today (9 October 2014) Vince Cable and Lord Davies have written to the chairmen of those remaining 28 companies urging them to look again at new talent.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Although our target is in sight, we must keep up the momentum. All companies with fewer than 25% of women on their board need to take firm action now to increase female representation.

Outstanding progress has been made, but we need to see the pace increase within both FTSE 100 and 250 companies to reach our target by 2015.

Companies need to harness all available talent - better balanced boards are vital to securing the future competitiveness of UK.

Lord Davies said:

From a low start at 12.5% in 2011 to 22.8% today, progress of this order is by any standards an amazing achievement. Our goal is clearly in sight, albeit 25% is not gender parity.

Having reached a position where it is unacceptable for the voice of women to be absent from the boardroom, it is disappointing to see there are still 28 all-male boards in the FTSE 250. Every single company needs to address the issue of gender balance in the boardroom and make sure they support UK business in our collective goal.

Latest FTSE 100 figures also show (2 October 2014):

  • women account for 27.9% of Non-Executive Directorships and 8.4% of Executive Directorships
  • women account for 249 of the 1,094 FTSE100 board positions
  • there have been 27 new female appointments in the last 6months; there were 33 in the previous 6 months
  • 39 companies now have 25% or more women’s representation on their boards, up from 36 in March 2014
  • however, 7 companies have moved from above 25% representation to below since March 2014. Overall, there are 17 companies in the FTSE 100 whose women’s representation figures have fallen in the last 6 months
  • 31.8% of all new appointments in FTSE 100 went to women in the last 6 months, down from 35.5% in the previous 6 months

Latest FTSE 250 figures also show (2 October 2014):

  • women now account for 17.4% of overall board directorships, up from 15.6% in March 2014 and 7.8% in 2011
  • of this, women account for 22% of non-executive directorships and 5.1% of executive directorships
  • 24.3% of all new appointments in FTSE 250 went to women in the last 6 months, down from 33.3% in the previous 6 months

Notes to editors:

  1. More information about the latest statistics can be found at ‘Women on boards reports’.
  2. The names of the 28 FTSE 250 companies with all-male boards are:
    • 3i Infrastructure plc (3i Infrastructure Ltd prior to 07/2008)
    • Al Noor Hospitals Group plc
    • Bank of Georgia Holdings plc
    • BlueCrest AllBlue Fund Limited. (Close Allblue Fund Ltd prior to 06/2008)
    • Brit plc
    • Caledonia Investments plc
    • Centamin plc (Centamin Egypt Ltd prior to 12/2011)
    • City of London Investment Group plc
    • Daejan Holdings plc
    • Domino Printing Sciences plc
    • Enterprise Inns plc
    • Ferrexpo plc
    • Fisher(James)& Sons plc
    • Genus plc
    • HellermannTyton Group plc
    • Hikma Pharmaceuticals plc
    • Hochschild Mining plc
    • Hunting plc
    • JD Sports Fashion plc (John David Group prior to 07/2008)
    • Nostrum Oil & Gas plc (Nostrum Oil & Gas LP prior to 06/2014)
    • PayPoint plc
    • Perpetual Income and Growth Investment Trust plc
    • Personal Assets Trust plc
    • Petra Diamonds
    • Riverstone Energy Ltd
    • Scottish Investment Trust plc
    • Synthomer plc (Yule Catto & Co plc prior to 12/2012)
    • Telecom Plus plc
  3. A copy of Lord Davies’s Review of Women on Boards annual report can be found at ‘Women on boards reports’
  4. In February 2011 Lord Davies of Abersoch published his report Women on Boards which set out a strategy aimed at ensuring that more women were appointed to boardroom positions. He asked all FTSE 350 companies to set targets for the number of women they expected to have on their boards and executive committees in 2015. Lord Davies recommended that FTSE 100 boards should aim for a minimum 25% female representation on their boards by 2015.
  5. The Enhanced Code of Conduct was launched by Vince Cable on 1 July 2014. The Code gives recognition to those firms who have been most successful in the recruitment of women to FSTE 350 boards. More details of the Enhanced Code and its criteria can be found at Women on boards - Cable launches enhanced code for executive recruiters.
  6. In March 2014, an independent report into the transparency of the executive search agencies’ Code of Conduct by Charlotte Sweeney was published. More details on this can be found at Headhunter reforms to boost female board appointments.
  7. The Equality and Human Rights Council has published their guidance on positive steps that can be taken to improve the representation of women on boards. More information can be found at Commission helps companies increase representation of women on boards
Published 9 October 2014