The government-commissioned Hampton-Alexander Review has been unveiled with statistics to be released tomorrow showing that 25 per cent of those currently sitting on FTSE 100 exec committees and their direct reports, are women.
On the positive side, 20 of Britain's biggest firms have at least a third of their executive pipeline made up of women. On the less positive side, there are still 12 FTSE 100 executive committees with no women on them at all.
GlaxoSmithKline chair Sir Philip Hampton and UBS chair Dame Helen Alexander, who headed up the report, said in a joint statement:
We don't underestimate the challenge the new voluntary target presents for many FTSE companies.
However, we are encouraged by the breadth of experienced women ready and willing to step up, the significant efforts underway in many companies on this agenda and the ability of British business to work together to bring about change when it is needed.
The review also recommends that the Financial Reporting Council amends the UK corporate governance code so that FTSE 350 firms disclose the gender balance of their executive committees and direct reports to make sure there is transparency around how many women are in senior positions.
In July, the review team said it supported Lord Davies' previous recommendation of a 33 per cent target for representation of women on boards for FTSE 350 companies by 2030. New figures indicate a small rise in the number of women appointed to board positions in the past year.
And all-male boards within the FTSE 350 is at an all-time low: there were 152 in February 2011 and just 11 now.