Download your copy of E-reward’s new report: Women on FTSE 350 Boards: Roles, tenure, share ownership and gender pay

A new study by E-reward published today finds that while the proportion of female directors is on an upward trend, for both executive and non-executive roles, women tend to be employed in positions with less responsibility and influence. According to the study of reported FTSE 350 company data for 3,400 UK company executives:

  • 20.9% of the directors covered by the analysis are women.
  • Just 7.2% of executive directors are women while the equivalent proportion for non-executives is 26.3%.
  • Proportions were larger in the FTSE 100 with 9.9% of executive roles held by women compared to 6.5% in the mid-250.
  • For non-executives, the FTSE 100 proportion stood at 29.1% while in the mid-250 it was 24.5%.

But these aggregate figures mask other stark findings which highlight that, while the proportions are on an upward trajectory, very few women manage to secure the very top roles – either as executives or non-executives – on UK company boards.

  • Just 4.9% of FTSE 350 chief executives are women. The equivalent figures for finance and other directors are 8.3% and 7.5% respectively.
  • The situation is slightly better in the FTSE 100 (5.3% women chief executives) compared to the mid-250 (4.7%).
  • The corresponding proportions for finance directors are 11.3% (FTSE 100) and 6.9% (FTSE 250).

The report includes commentary from Duncan Brown, Head of HR Consultancy at the Institute for Employment Studies. Brown writes:

‘Analysis of those in post for less than one year highlights the improving situation, with 31.7% of these new non-executives already female across the 350 companies, 18.5% of new chief executives and 13.8% of other executive directors. The picture is complex however, with fewer females in the more senior and better-remunerated non-executive roles such as audit committee chairs (17% female across the FTSE 350) and senior independent directors (13.9%) and also fewer females still in the largest (and highest paying) companies. Interestingly, the role of remuneration committee chair is the most gender-balanced in the whole study, with 41.4% of FTSE 100 and 35.1% in the mid-250 being female.’

He adds:

‘Those few FTSE 100 female chief executives earned total remuneration averaging only 56% of their male counterpart’s average of £3,566,000. For finance directors there was also a significant gap of just over £1 million. And the female non-executives’ shareholdings averaging a value of £54,500 were only 45% of the average value for the male non-executives. E-reward’s more detailed examination of the pay packages of the current FTSE 350 female chief executives with their closest male comparators did not find a gender pay gap but the small number of women currently in such roles means that any such analysis can only be tentative. But at least it suggests that equal pay – i.e. paying the same for the same roles – is not a major driver of the gender pay gap that this data has highlighted.’
‘Women on FTSE 350 Boards: Roles, tenure, share ownership and gender pay’, published by E-reward, November 2017. To download the 40-page report, free of charge, please visit: