LORD Davies of Abersoch’s review on gender equality in UK boardrooms will call on companies to ensure at least 20 per cent of all directorships are held by women within two years, sources familiar with the report said yesterday.
The government-commissioned report, due to be published on Thursday, will also demand that a quarter of FTSE board members are female by 2015.
Headhunters and shareholders will be asked to sign up to a code of conduct promoting transparency during recruitment, though the government is thought to be threatening mandatory quotas if the gender balance fails to change.
Women currently hold just 12.5 per cent of all FTSE company directorships.
A survey out today suggests that two-thirds of women are in favour of positive action short of quotas to help improve opportunities for women to reach the boardroom.
Research by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) also shows that while most managers are against quotas for senior roles, 47 per cent of female managers surveyed said they were in favour.
ILM chief executive Penny de Valk (pictured with Lord Davies) said: “The imposition of boardroom quotas in the UK would be an admission of failure for leaders.
“Rather than waiting for external legislation, now is the time for employers to set voluntary targets for female representation at board and senior management level, and hold people accountable for meeting them.”