In the UK, Lord Davies has published his second annual progress report on women on boards. Lord Davies undertook an investigation in 2010 on the barriers preventing women from reaching senior positions and decision making roles at boardroom level.

The latest report indicates that progress on Lord Davies' recommendation of a voluntary business-led strategy to bring about a culture of change at the heart of business in the UK, has been good.

According to the report, women now account for 17.3% of FTSE 100 and 13.2% of FTSE 250 board directors which represents an increase from 12.5% and 7.8% respectively in February 2011. This is an increase of almost 40%.

Other key findings from the report are that women have secured 34% of all FTSE 100 and 36% of FTSE 250 board appointments since March 2012. Of note is the fact that only six all-male boards remain in the FTSE 100, and in the FTSE 250, all-male boards continue to be in the minority.

The report sets out some pointers for future action, including:

  • Chairmen should review their targets for 2015 or set targets if they have not already done so;
  • FTSE 250 companies should aim towards a target of 25% of women on their boards by 2015;
  • By the end of September 2013, FTSE 350 Chief Executives should set out the percentage of women they aim to have on their Executive Committees and in Senior Management levels within their organisations in 2015;
  • Executive committee members should be released to serve on the boards of other companies as part of the overall executive development plan; and
  • Companies should conduct a pilot for advertising director opportunities, to test the benefits and pitfalls of advertising.