Aim companies failing to create board diversity

Caitlin Morrison
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Louise Patten
WOMEN made up just seven per cent of appointments to the boards of Aim-listed companies during the past three years, according to a report from executive recruitment firm Norman Broadbent.

Of all non-executive appointments at FTSE 100 firms over the past three years, 37 per cent were women, while at FTSE 250 companies, 34 per cent were women.

At small-cap and fledgling firms, women accounted for 24 per cent of all non-executive appointments over the past three years.

However, the junior market boasts the most age diversity on its boards, with directors’ ages ranging from the mid-20s to 94. At 94, Jacques Gaston Murray is currently the oldest serving chairman of a listed company, and chairs two Aim-listed firms – hire company Andrew Sykes Group and fire protection business London Security.

The youngest chairman, Eitan Mil­gram, also presides over an Aim-listed firm, German-focused property company Treveria. Norman Broadbent found that traditionally male-dominated industries, such as construction and industrial, were still struggling to improve gender diversity at board level, with just 12 per cent of the entire construction sector workforce made up of women.

The research also showed that the boards that had fostered diversity also showed improved performance, “un­der­lining the business case for widening companies’ pool of executive talent”.

The recruitment firm commented on its findings: “While there is pressure from government and the EU, particularly in terms of gender diversity, this should not be the only driver for embracing diversity. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to improving diversity levels on UK boards, and the approach each business takes should be aligned with its existing values and goals. However, one thing is certain: as the economic recovery grows stronger, being able to offer a broader perspective will be a key commercial differentiator.”