November 13, 2019 / 12:35 PM / a month ago

Top UK firms risk missing gender target unless 50% of new hires are women

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain’s biggest listed companies will miss an official gender equality target unless one in every two senior hires in the next year are women, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Many in the FTSE 100 index of top listed companies are “well adrift” of the goal that one in three senior jobs should be held by women by the end of next year, said the Hampton-Alexander Review, which analyses gender representation.

It found just under 29% of leadership roles in the FTSE 100 are held by women this year - up slightly from 27% last year - and only about one in three available roles go to female applicants.

A separate goal that one in three positions on FTSE 100 company boards should be held by women was likely to be met, found the Hampton-Alexander Review, an independent body set up by the government in 2016 to monitor progress.

“Research has repeatedly shown that appointing women is good for business – but companies are dragging their feet,” said Gemma Roseblatt, head of policy and campaigns at the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for women’s rights.

“While on the surface, it appears that representation of women on boards has increased, we know that many of these women are in non-executive roles. It’s time to give women real power, not just a seat at the table to observe.”

The report was published a day before British Equal Pay Day, which marks the date when women in the country effectively start to work for free because their salaries lag behind men’s.

A Reuters analysis of gender pay data in April showed major financial services firms in Britain had made very little progress in narrowing the gap between male and female pay and more than a third had gone backwards since last year.

Reporting by Rosa Furneaux, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit

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