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Women still making up ‘tiny number’ of CEOs at top companies

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The chief executives of the top 350 FTSE companies on the London Stock Exchange are still more likely to be called Andrew or David than they are to be a woman, according to an expert.

Professor Ruth Sealy recently re-examined the companies for International Women’s Day as part of a podcast for recruiting experts Hays.

It follows research she has carried out over several years about the make-up of top company boards.

She discovered that of the 350 CEOs, 18 were called David, 13 were named Andrew and 12 called John. Just 12 were women – representing 3.4% of the group.

12 Number of women CEOs in the top 350 FTSE companies on the London Stock Exchange, representing just 3.4%

Professor Ruth Sealy

“Real progress has been made towards gender equality within some areas of the workplace but there are others – such as women making up such a tiny number of the top chief executive roles, which are still stubbornly slow to change,” said Prof Sealy, of the University of Exeter.

She has cited examples of companies making positive change including international consumer goods company Unilever, which she says has built a gender-balanced organisation with an inclusive work culture as a strategic priority.

Lloyds Banking Group was the first FTSE 100 company to publicly announce gender targets that went beyond board level, while insurance company Aviva has seen job-share directorships role-modelled by two fathers and has introduced equal paternity packages.

“In the end, diversity across companies is about three core things; good talent management, inclusive cultures and great leadership,” added Prof Sealy.

“There are no excuses any more – there is plenty of advice, information and support out there to help business leaders and their teams improve diversity.”

 

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