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City 'behind on diversity plans'

28/10/13

Anecdotal evidence suggests the City of London has moved on from the days of hyper-masculine traders and all-male offices, with many firms committing strongly to diversity measures and more women reaching the top of the financial services profession.

However, the latest report from monitoring group BoardWatch suggests more needs to be done if firms are to reach the targets set in the 2011 report by former UK government minister Lord Davies.

The organisation, which was launched following Lord Davies' research to keep track of the industry's progress, found women now make up 6.1 per cent of executive director roles at FTSE 100 companies, reports Financial News.

This marks a slight improvement from last year, when the figure was at 5.5 per cent, but it still represents a relatively paltry sum and shows how far there is to go before reaching the peer's suggested ratio of 25 per cent by 2015.

At non-executive director level, women account for 23.8 per cent of all board roles, up from 15.6 per cent in 2011.

Certain firms are out-performing their counterparts - Lloyds and RBS both have 30 per cent of boardroom roles filled by female executives, the report found.

At Aberdeen Asset Management and HSBC, the figures are 29 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, up from 21 per cent and 22.2 per cent in 2011.

Alison Rose, head of markets and international banking for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa ar RBS, said she is "encouraged" by these results but keen to ensure advances do not halt in the area of diversity.

"I am keen to see momentum continue and it is critical we build the pipeline of women in executive roles and increase the pace of change. This is a good indication of progress but there remains much to do and momentum needs to continue," she declared.

While mandatory quotas have been considered by the sector, there is not a great deal of industry support for this concept, which is considered needlessly invasive.

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