Danny McCance 24 Jul 2018 02:29pm

Women FTSE 350 executive numbers stagnate

Only 16% of FTSE 350 executive committees members are women and nearly a quarter of companies have no women on their executive committees at all

Little has changed in the past three years in regards to executive committees, despite the UK’s target to have 33% women representation on boards by 2020, according to Women Count 2018, the annual report from The Pipeline.

The proportion of women executives on main boards also remains flat at 8%.

Furthermore, only 5% of profit and loss (P&L) roles on executive committees are held by women across the FTSE 350, with their roles usually being in HR, marketing, legal or compliance.

 Almost two-thirds of companies have no women in P&L roles at all – another barrier to increasing the number of women CEOs.

The report found a correlation between the number of women in senior roles and profitability, as companies with no women on their executive committees achieved an average net profit margin of 8.9% while those with at least 25% of women on executive committees averaged 13.9%.

“This is an issue of competitive advantage and profitability which is echoed through FTSE 350,” said Lorna Fitzsimons, co-founder of The Pipeline.

Fitzsimons noted that the 5% increase on profit margins amounted to a £13bn “gender dividend”, which was available to FTSE 350 companies if they performed at the same level as those with more women on their executive committees.

While 4% of FTSE 350 companies have female CEO’s, the research found that within a year these CEOs have increased the number of female executive committee members by 10%.

The study also found that female CEO’s have double the amount of women on their executive committees and four times the amount of female executives in P&L roles on their executive committees than their male counterparts.

“This lack of progress calls into serious question the possibility of achieving the UK’s target of 33% by 2020 which I set in response to the Davies Report, as minister for women and equalities in 2015,” said Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee.

She added that businesses that do not understand the need to appoint more senior women are “failing to meet their full potential”.

The research found that in the FTSE 350 financial and insurance sector 18% of executives were women – 4% below the highest proportion in the wholesale and retail trade sector but 8% above the lowest sector (mining).

Despite the news regarding the FTSE 350, statistics from the Hampton-Alexander review in June showed that the FTSE 100 is on track to meet the 33% representation target by 2020.