CBI backs EC approach on boardroom gender diversity

Friday 16 November 2012

Business meeting

The European Commission (EC) appears to have listened to the concerns of businesses where gender equality in the boardroom is concerned.

This is the view of Katja Hall, chief policy director of the Confederation of British Industry, who says the latest EU plans have the right focus.

She explained that they centre on the need to improve boardroom diversity, while allowing firms to recruit the best candidates from the widest possible talent pool.

Rather than setting quotas for the number of women in the boardroom, the EC has outlined a 40 per cent objective for female non-executive directors on the boards of listed companies.

Companies are being urged to meet this target by the end of the decade, but will have more leeway than some had originally feared.

Ms Hall claimed that increasing the number of women in boardrooms is important for businesses, who know that gender diversity brings greater creativity, higher performance and better customer insight.

"That is why firms are already taking action to increase the flow of women to the top, such as targeting mentoring schemes at women and offering flexible working," she stated.

The EC says that, at present, 85 per cent of all non-executive directors in FTSE 100 companies are male.

Posted by Dan Smith