Nearly 50% of UK companies and not-for-profits have plans to reach gender parity at board level in the next three years,

This is according to the results of a snapshot survey of governance professionals, conducted by the Chartered Governance Institute for UK & Ireland (CGIUKI) in association with The Core Partnership. 

Last month the FTSE Woman’s Leaders Review released their report calling on FTSE companies to adopt a minimum 40% target for female appointees to the Board and leadership teams of FTSE 350 companies by 2025.

Deborah Gray, Founding Director at Totum Partners,said: “In 2021, we saw the number of female candidates rise to 60%, while the number of male candidates has fallen to 33%. It is, of course, brilliant to see this increase in demand for women in business services functions but it is vital that this demand is sustainable and genuine. Achieving better gender representation must not be done through quotas, but through fair assessment of professional merit, regardless of gender.”

Many organisations are aiming higher with 46% of organisations stating that plans are in place for gender parity at board level. Respondents also reported good news on developing the pipeline of future female talent with three-quarters (75 per cent) of male and female respondents reporting their company is supporting women into senior leadership roles.

Sara Drake, CEO of the CGIUKI said: “It is encouraging to see that nearly half of the respondents said their company has gender parity targets for their boards as we mark International Women’s Day.

She added: “These findings put pressure on organisations yet to formulate plans as they face being left behind. This is particularly true for the 25 per cent of companies reportedly not nurturing their female talent for senior leadership roles. These organisations face an exodus of talented women leaving to seek alternative employment where their contribution and leadership skills will be appreciated”