Archive for March, 2021

Gender gap closing in UK board rooms

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

More than a third (34.3%) of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women, with the number of women on boards increasing by 50% over the last 5 years, data released today (Wednesday 24 February) shows, representing a dramatic shift in representation at the very highest levels of British business.

The data has been published in the final report from the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review, which was launched in 2016 to encourage UK-listed companies to appoint more women to their boards and into senior leadership positions.

While men still dominate in the upper ranks of the UK’s top firms, in 5 years the Review has seen remarkable progress among FTSE companies. In total, 220 of the FTSE 350 companies now meet the Hampton-Alexander target of having at least 33% of their board positions held by women – with the figure having quadrupled from just 53 in 2015, and there are no longer any all-male boards in the FTSE 350.

The figures also show an increase in women in wider senior leadership roles, demonstrating that Hampton-Alexander’s top-down approach – with boardrooms setting the standards for women’s representation across the company – is providing pathways to success for women and ultimately supporting British business to strengthen leadership with new ideas and diverse perspectives that come from more women in senior positions.

Data

Oct 2015

Jan 2021

Number of women on boards in FTSE 350

682

1,026

Representation of women on boards in FTSE 350 (as a %)

21.9%

34.3%

Number of all-male boards in FTSE 350

15

0

Number of companies with 33% women on boards in FTSE 350

53

220

Number of boards with only one woman (One & Done)

116

16

Representation of women in leadership roles in FTSE 350 (as a %)

24.5% (in 2017,
when data collection began)

29.4%

The FTSE 250 reached the Hampton-Alexander Review’s final target of women making up 33% of boards in December 2020, following the FTSE 100 and FTSE 350, which achieved the milestone in February and September 2020 respectively, highlighting the success of the government’s voluntary, business-led approach in addressing the exclusion of women from the top of FTSE companies.

Challenges as we emerge from lockdown

Monday, March 1st, 2021

There is no guarantee that the heady mix of vaccination and easing of lockdown will contain the spread of COVID-19. However, based on government predictions, they are willing to start the process of easing lockdown restrictions.

The relaxation of restrictions will depend on four tests. They are:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  4. Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The stepped approach published is:

Step 1: 8 March

  • Schools and colleges are open for all students. Practical Higher Education Courses.
  • Recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person. No household mixing indoors.
  • Wraparound childcare.
  • Stay at home.
  • Funerals (30), wakes and weddings (6)

29 March

  • Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.
  • Outdoor sport and leisure facilities.
  • Organised outdoor sport allowed (children and adults).
  • Minimise travel. No holidays.
  • Outdoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents).

Step 2
At least five weeks after Step 1, no earlier than 12 April.

  • Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.
  • Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.
  • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.
  • Libraries and community centres.
  • Personal care premises.
  • All retail.
  • Outdoor hospitality.
  • All children’s activities, indoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents).
  • Domestic overnight stays (household only).
  • Self-contained accommodation (household only).
  • Funerals (30), wakes, weddings and receptions (15).
  • Minimise travel. No international holidays.
  • Event pilots begin.

Step 3
At least five weeks after Step 2, no earlier than 17 May.

  • Indoor entertainment and attractions.
  • 30 persons limit outdoors. Rule of 6 or two households (subject to review).
  • Domestic overnight stays.
  • Organised indoor adult sport.
  • Most significant life events (30).
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances).
  • Remaining accommodation.
  • Some large events (expect for pilots) – capacity limits apply.
    • Indoor events: 1,000 or 50%.
    • Outdoor other events: 4,000 or 50%.
    • Outdoor seated events: 10,000 or 25%.
  • International travel – subject to review.

Step 4
At least five weeks after Step 3, no earlier than 21 June. By Step 4, the Government hopes to be able to introduce the following (subject to review):

  • No legal limits on social contact
  • Nightclubs.
  • Larger events.
  • No legal limit on life events.

Based on these published intentions it would be wise for UK’s raft of small businesses that have been adversely affected by lockdown to plan for resumption of trade. Depending on how badly their finances have been affected by the events of the last year they will need plans in place to finance expansion. It is likely that once consumers can scent the freedom to step out and spend there will be a significant push to economic activity.

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