New report on numbers of women in the workplace at Executive level in the UK

The annual ‘Women Count‘ report, published by The Pipeline, has found that just 1 in 5 commercial roles on the executive committees of FTSE350 companies in the UK is held by women.

The eighth edition of the report, which analyses gender parity at Executive Committee level within the UK’s largest businesses, revealed that instead of holding the most influential executive roles, such as CEO, or positions with P&L responsibilities, women were largely limited to ‘functional’ roles, such as HR or Marketing. Therefore, while female representation on the board of FTSE350 companies exceeded 30% for the first time, the report also found that:

  • Just 13% of the FTSE100 have a female CEO;
  • Across the FTSE350, just 9% of companies have a female CEO, up from 4% in 2019;
  • Similarly, just 18% of the FTSE350 have a female CFO – despite women comprising nearly half of those qualifying as accountants

The Pipeline’s research also highlights sizeable discrepancies in gender representation on senior teams across different sectors within the FTSE350. While some sectors have achieved over 40% female representation on their executive committees – with notable performers including the packaging industry – several other sectors, such as IT, automobile, mining and private equity, appear to be significantly behind the curve, with female representation on the board standing at under 20%.

For the first time, this year the research was extended to include a survey of senior women to understand the challenges they face in their careers and gain their perspective on why women continue to be a minority on the boards of business organisations. This analysis revealed that:

  • 47% of respondents identified workplace environment and culture-related issues as the biggest obstacle to their development in leadership roles;
  • 44% believed their organisation was not putting enough emphasis on supporting women in achieving their career goals;
  • 48% highlighted flexibility and career advancement as the most important decisions made by leadership teams to enable women to breakthrough.

The full report can be found here.

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