18 December 2012
Study: More females securing boardroom positions
The number of women succeeding with their application to a boardroom-level position has risen over the past five years as larger companies take the lead from their smaller counterparts and look for gender equality among executives.
This is according to new research from Experian BusinessIQ, which revealed a 24 per cent increase in the number of females offered director roles between 2007 and 2012.
In contrast, the number of males taking similar jobs rose by 15 per cent and Experian noted much of the increase is down to big businesses seeking to address gender inequality.
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have been the "driving force" for hiring female executives, explained managing director of Experian's Business Information Services division Max Firth.
However, he added the research "shows that larger companies' efforts to increase the number of female directors have made a significant difference over the past five years".
While SMEs are still more likely to have women in leadership roles than larger enterprises, the gap is not as great as it was in 2007.
Five years ago, 48 per cent of SMEs and 33 per cent of larger firms had at least one woman director, but these figures now stand at 50 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.
However, progress has been slower on an industry level, with Experian concluding there has been little change in the sectors with the most female directors since the recession began.
Equality at boardroom level is an issue the European Commission is determined to tackle, despite the body admitting the introduction of mandatory quotas is unlikely.
It had put together a proposal forcing all European listed companies to have at least 40 per cent of a board made up of women, but has since changed the figure to a target.
Justice commissioner at the body Viviane Reding told the BBC that the change was down to the EC not wishing to "interfere with the freedom to conduct a business" and added it is still campaigning for greater female representation.
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Posted by Chris Stevenson