Lord Davies Report: Double the Number of Women on Boards

Women on BoardsLord Davies has delivered his Women on Boards report, urging FTSE350 companies to boost the number of women at board level to 20% by 2013 and 25% by 2015.

But, as expected, Lord Davies stopped short of imposing quotas, unless the voluntary measures fail.

Carmen Watson, one of the UK’s most successful female business leaders as Managing Director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, a £280m turn over business and one of the UK’S largest independent recruitment agencies said,

“Quotas are not inherently good because both men and women on boards both need to feel that the women have earned their way to the top. It is counterproductive if women are put on boards just to fill quotas, as the impact they will have on major company decisions to help shape and form company policy, will be diminished.”

Lord Davies also called on boards to announce, in the next six months, their goals “to ensure that more talented and gifted women” get top jobs, requiring companies to disclose meaningful information about their appointment processes and how they deliver on diversity.

Carmen Watson continued, adding that:

“Although women make up half of the population and more than half of university graduates, they remain woefully under-represented at board level. What is needed is cultural change, which fosters the leadership development of women in middle management, not quotas, ratios or tokenism. Flexibility allows firms to set targets that reflect the realities of their market place, and is more effective.”

Lord Davies’ report also called upon companies to promote women to executive committees in order that there is a greater and more diverse talent pool from which businesses recruit non-exec directors.

Watson finished:

“The real solution lies within companies, shareholders, the government and the recruitment profession working together to deliver the changes that will help women to achieve these board-level positions. Businesses which have diverse boardrooms are more empowered to serve diverse markets across a wide variety of sectors. Boardroom diversity is no longer an option but a critical part of the growth strategy of many businesses in order to remain competitive both in the UK and abroad.”

Another point of interest is Lord Davies’ recommendation that recruitment firms draw up a voluntary code of conduct so that gender diversity best practice is implemented to cover FTSE 350 boardroom appointments.

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