Women on Boards UK calls for scrutiny #BeyondFTSE350 as new data across FTSE All-Share reveals many companies have made little to no progress on diversity.

For the first time representation of women on boards and the gender pay gap has been scrutinised across the FTSE All-Share – with new data on the 261 companies below the largest 350 companies (ex350). A new report, The Hidden Truth About Diversity and Inclusion in the FTSE All-Share, released today by Women on Boards UK, reveals that less than half of the companies listed in the FTSE All-Share ex350 (48%) have met the target for 33% women on boards[1] and more than half (54%) have all-male executive leadership teams.

Previous Government-led reports, such as the Hampton-Alexander Review, have pointed to positive progress, however these reviews have only examined companies in the FTSE 350. This is painting an incomplete picture and masking the fact that many companies are making little to no change.

The Hidden Truth About Diversity and Inclusion in the FTSE All-Share examines board diversity across the FTSE All-Share ex350 and reveals that:

  • At 31% the overall percentage of women on boards in the FTSE All-Share ex350 is showing progress. However, less than half (48%) of FTSE All-Share ex350 companies have met the target for 33% women on boards, compared to two thirds (65%) of the FTSE 350 companies
  • 37% (98) of FTSE All-Share ex350 company boards have one or no female directors
  • Very few women are reaching the most senior roles with only 7% female CEOs and 16% female Chairs in the FTSE All-Share ex350
  • A shocking 54% of companies in the FTSE All-Share ex350 have all-male executive leadership teams, compared to 8% of the FTSE 350 companies
  • Only 3% of board members in the FTSE All-Share ex350 are ‘directors of colour’ (male or female) and they are distributed across just 16% of companies. Of these 46 directors of colour, only eight individuals are Black.

Fiona Hathorn, CEO Women on Boards UK says, “This report highlights that the job is far from done. While progress has been made over the past several years— much of this has been driven by the largest companies. There are many smaller listed companies who, with a collective market capitalisation value of £63bn, have a significant impact on the UK economy. To accelerate diversity and close the gender pay gap we must look beyond the FTSE 350 and ensure that every company in the FTSE All-Share is held accountable to change.”


FTSE All-Share Gender Pay Gap Above National Average:

The report also analyses the Gender Pay Gap data across the FTSE All-Share for the first time (the FTSE 350 and the 261 companies below them). The data shows that the average gender pay gap is at 20.2% for those FTSE 350 companies required to report, and at 17% for the remainder of the FTSE All-Share compared to a national average of 13.7%. The bonus gap is even wider at 44.6% across reporting FTSE 350 companies and 36% for the remainder of the FTSE All-Share, compared to a national average of 20%.

Fiona Hathorn adds, “Analysing gender pay gap data reveals what is going on inside an organisation’s culture, whether women are being recognised for their contribution and not just for symbolic value. Gender pay gap reports are indicative of whether a company is acting inclusively with strong corporate governance. While there are companies in the FTSE All-Share working hard to close their gender pay gap, many more companies need to seriously up their game on equal pay.”

Scrutiny of boardroom diversity across all the UK’s leading companies is vital for giving us a comprehensive and accurate view of diversity and inclusion. The #BeyondFTSE350 campaign is calling for increased scrutiny and consistent monitoring of diversity and inclusion metrics across the FTSE All-Share. Women on Boards UK is specifically calling for more attention to be paid to the percentage of companies reaching diversity targets and to those making little or no progress, as well as for all listed companies to report their gender pay gap, on a comply or explain basis.

To access the full report click here.

Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

More posts by Lisa Baker