| LONDON, March 4
LONDON, March 4 Headhunter firms should do more
to help boost the number of women sitting on British boards,
including compiling a list of "board-ready women," a
government-backed review said on Tuesday.
The independent review by Charlotte Sweeney, a diversity
consultant, made 10 recommendations to increase the number of
women on the boards of Britain's biggest companies.
"The headhunting community is a crucial catalyst to
introduce more capable women in the boardroom," said Business
Secretary Vince Cable, who commissioned the review.
"However, they can often be one of the first hurdles that
talented, board-ready women face when trying to reach the top,
so I welcome any efforts to improve the transparency of the
The review called on headhunting firms to share gender ratio
statistics with the government at all stages of recruitment so
that it can assess how successfully its gender equality "code of
conduct", set out in a 2011 review and signed up to by 70 search
firms, is being implemented.
The 2011 government review, by former trade minister Lord
Mervyn Davies, said all FTSE 100 companies should aim
for at least a quarter of their boards to be comprised of women
by 2015, though it stopped short of advocating enforced quotas.
Some progress has already been made, with women now making
up 20.4 percent of board seats in Britain's 100 biggest listed
companies, up from 12.5 percent when Davies conducted his
review, according to the latest data from the Professional
Boards Forum, which tracks female board appointments.
Two all-male FTSE 100 boards still remain: Glencore Xtrata
FTSE 250 companies lag behind, with women making up just
15.1 percent of those board seats.
Sweeney's review said "a database of board-ready women"
should be created and shared with other shareholders, like
investor groups and the 30 Percent Club, an independent
organization named after its target for female board
The review also proposed that executive search firms should
commit to putting forward at least one strongly recommended
woman on the short lists given to the chairs of companies for
all board positions.
Davies will publish his annual "Women on Boards" report
later this month.
(Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Editing by Leslie Adler)