IoD – European Gender Diversity Barometer shows UK boards have made excellent progress

On International Women’s Day, Ethics & Boards and ecoDa (of which the Institute of Directors is the UK representative) have published the European Gender Diversity Barometer.

The Barometer shows that, while boards have taken into account the importance of diversity, much remains to be done at the executive leadership level.

In 2023, most listed companies have understood the advantage of having a diverse board.  Women make up 40% of the boards of UK FTSE100 companies (compared to 38.9% in the Stoxx Europe 600 index) and 19% of Chairs (compared to 11.2% across Europe).

The percentage of women with executive positions in companies has been gradually increasing during the last five years. In the FTSE100, women represent 28% of executive leadership positions (compared to 24.3% across Europe) and 9% of CEOs (compared to 7.7% across Europe). However, 15% of UK businesses still have no women in the executive leadership (compared to 18% across Europe).

Alexandra Hall-Chen, Principal Policy Officer for Sustainability, Skills, and Employment, said:

“Increased boardroom diversity leads to smarter decision-making, contributes to an organisation’s bottom line, and powers innovation, among other benefits.

“UK boards have made excellent progress in improving female representation in the past decade, and the Barometer demonstrates that the FTSE100 is ahead of the curve on boardroom gender diversity in Europe.

“However, the job is not done, with more work needed to improve female representation in executive leadership positions.”