Women on Boards
As the Davies Review noted in 2011, businesses perform better when they can draw upon people with a wide range of experiences and expertise. However, women still account for only 20.4% of FTSE 100 board memberships. If we are to reach the target set in the Davies Review for women to make up 25% of FTSE 100 boards by 2015, then there is still a lot of work to do.
Executive search firms help businesses source the talent they need but too often, their activities are not well understood. This is why REC is leading a campaign that aims to provide businesses, individuals, government and headhunters with better information and good practice on how executive search firms can support women leaders.
The campaign is underpinned by our research, entitled ‘Room at the Top: women leaders and the role of executive search' (published March 2014). This report explores how we can encourage businesses and executive search firms alike to be more open about how they find talent and thereby improve the representation of women on boards.
Key findings from our research include:
• There are many women who are ‘board ready’, but businesses are missing out on top female talent by
not engaging with executive search firms.
• Gender diversity is not only a matter of having a more representative senior team, it also makes commercial sense.
Balanced boards better represent their customers and stakeholders, make better decisions and deliver better financial results.
• Executive search firms are already demonstrating good practices that place more women at board and senior executive level.
• They also play a critical role in questioning and challenging client briefs, probing sometimes long-held assumptions, revealing biases and providing assurances.
The REC is now looking at how we can deliver on the key recommendations from our research and we will use our findings to inform and influence the ongoing development of the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms led by the 30% Club.