Women should hold one third of senior executive jobs at FTSE 100 firms by 2020, says Sir Philip Hampton's review

Rebecca Smith
Emma Walmsley will join the small ranks of FTSE 100 female chief executives in 2017
Emma Walmsley will join the small ranks of FTSE 100 female chief executives in 2017 (Source: GlaxoSmithKline)

One in three senior executive positions at FTSE 100 firms should be occupied by women by 2020, a new government-backed review will say this week.

Led by Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman of GlaxoSmithKline and UBM chair Dame Helen Alexander, the review will recommend the new target for FTSE 100 exec committees and the management below that level.

According to Sky News, the report to be published on Wednesday, will say that the new target will run alongside a similar objective for all FTSE 350 companies to have one-third of their board populations filled by women within four years.

Read more: There'll be no more all-white FTSE 100 boards by 2021

The picture isn't as bleak as some might have feared: more than 25 per cent of the roles on the two levels below the boardroom are held by women, according to research undertaken for the review. But, it does drop to just under 20 per cent when narrowed to just the executive committee level.

Next week's report will be the latest phase of a continuing government push to improve gender diversity in British business.

While the UK has seen a rise in the number of women on boards over the past five years - propelled by the Davies review - just a few of the FTSE 100 are led by women. GSK will become one of the few when Emma Walmsley replaces Sir Andrew Witty at the helm next year.

The lucky seven: Female FTSE 100 leaders

  • Alison Brittain, Whitbread
  • Veronique Laury, Kingfisher
  • Moya Greene, Royal Mail
  • Alison Cooper, Imperial Tobacco
  • Carolyn McCall, EasyJet
  • ‚ÄčLiv Garfield, Severn Trent
  • Emma Walmsley, GlaxoSmithKline (from April 2017)

Read more: GlaxoSmithKline names Emma Walmsley as chief executive

It follows a similar unveiling of a review by Sir John Parker to bring an end to all-white boards. He has set a target of 2021 being the year that comes to a close: saying Britain's biggest firms should have at least one non-white director by 2021 and the next 250 largest should have one non-white board member by 2024.

The review found that FTSE 100 boardrooms aren't representative enough of their workforces, nor their supply chains or customer bases. While 14 per cent of the UK's population isn't white, that falls to eight per cent of the directors on FTSE 100 boards.

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