Captains of Industry are Committed to Championing Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, but Women Remain Scarce on Executive Boards

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The FINANCIAL — Captains of Industry say that despite nearly all board members on the FTSE 500 saying they are actively promoting and championing diversity and inclusion in their company (86%), a very large proportion say they have no female board members at all (71%).

Women on boards

Nearly two thirds (64%) of Captains say that their company is actively trying to increase the number of women on their main board. Captains report that 14% of their executive board are women and those businesses that are actively trying to increase the number of women on their main boards cite common themes in their policies to improve ratios. They are using set targets for shortlists and interviews through positive discrimination and usually using head-hunters. Captains are also focussing on the career development of women throughout the company by increasing opportunities from the graduate level upwards, and understanding the reasons why the number of women drop off in middle management.


Not all industries are alike. The survey found that seven out of ten (70%) Captains in the Services sector agree that they are committed to increasing women on the board, compared to 59% in the Industrial sector. Additionally, 68% Captains of companies with more than 5000 employees also said that they agree with the statement that they are actively trying to recruit more women to their main board. This is compared to 60% of Captains who have less than 1000 employees.


Geographically, while nine out of ten of Captains in London (90%) are committed to diversity in their company, this falls to eight out of ten (82%) outside of London. However, two thirds (66%) of Captains outside of London agreed that they are trying to increase the number of women on their boards, compared to 62% of those in London.

Most impressive business person

Notably, Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, remains the third most impressive business person in Britain as rated by Captains for a second year, falling only behind Sir James Dyson and Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP.


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