Firms forced to state number of female workers

COMPANIES will be required to publish the number of women and men they employ in an attempt to weed out sexism and ensure women are not excluded for top jobs, the government announced yesterday.

The rule change – due to be introduced in October 2013 – is part of a wide-ranging set of reforms to reporting guidelines that will affect all listed firms.

In an attempt to remove the clutter from annual reports, companies will also be required to issue a concise stand-alone statement detailing overall strategy, risks and basic performance measures.

“Over a period of years reports have become longer, more complex and increasingly difficult for shareholders to navigate,” said business minister Jo Swinson. “There are many examples of excellent reporting, but there is still room for improvement. [These] reforms will encourage companies to produce innovative and engaging reports, in line with current business best practice.”

PwC’s Charles Bowman welcomed the new guidelines on concise reporting: “Our own analysis of the FTSE 350’s accounts has shown that many companies have found articulating their business model difficult. However, a company lives or dies by how well they can articulate their business model and what they stand for – it seems that some larger companies have lost sight of this.”