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FTSE 100 improving on diversity

19/05/14

Businesses in the FTSE 100 listing have made major improvements to their boardroom diversity over recent months as they put initiatives into place and attempt to change internal attitudes, a new report from the EEF has revealed.

This shift has been especially pronounced among manufacturing firms, which were previously some of the least impressive performers, the study pointed out.

Every FTSE 100 manufacturer now has at least one woman on its board, with female staff now accounting for 21 per cent of directorship positions within the sector - up from 19 per cent last year.

Over a third of firms are above the minimum level of female representation proposed by the Lord Davies report (25 per cent).

However, more needs to be done to attract female leadership talent to the manufacturing industry, according to EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler.

"We are matching other industries for female board representation, but there is no room for complacency. If our sector is to continue to thrive we need to be fishing from the entire talent pool," he declared.

Despite this enthusiasm, Mr Scuoler suggested that quotas are not the answer when it comes to producing more equitable levels of representation in gender terms, adding that many of the female executives in the FTSE 100 concur.

"They advocate evolution, not revolution, with companies continuing and improving their work to identify and nurture talented women and taking bigger strides in showing that a career in our sector is an attractive, exciting and equal opportunity for all," he added.

His comments were echoed by UK head of manufacturing at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking David Atkinson, who expressed his pleasure at the attempts to change cultures within the industry.

The report found that small to medium-sized enterprises are also working hard to drive up the number of women in senior levels within their organisations, which is vital given that firms in this category account for roughly 60 per cent of employment within the industry.

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