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Review says more needed

Big Scottish firms ‘making progress on gender balance’

Gender gathering: Denise Wilson, Fiona Cannon, Catherine Burnet, Jacqui Ferguson, Melanie Richards and Charles Berry

Scotland’s biggest stock market companies are making good progress on boardroom gender balance, but more needs to be done, according to a new report.

The latest findings from The Hampton-Alexander review, which monitors the gender balance in all FTSE 350 businesses, reveal half of Scotland’s 14 listed companies have achieved the target 33% for women on board representation ahead of the December 2020 deadline.

In 2018, only three of the then ten FTSE 350 business from Scotland were meeting the target. Across the UK, 30.6% of FTSE 350 board positions are held by women.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers in the rankings, all with 40% plus women – including two Scotland-based companies – are: Standard Life Aberdeen, Schroders, CHR and Royal Bank of Scotland.

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers in the rankings, with 25% or fewer women are: National Grid, Rio Tinto and NMC Health.

As part of the research, the review also monitors gender balance in more than 20,000 UK-wide senior leadership positions within the FTSE 350.

Women’s representation in the senior leadership of FTSE 100 companies has increased this year to 28.6%, from 27% in 2018. The FTSE 250 has seen a stronger increase, with women’s representation rising this year to 27.9%, from 24.9% in 2018. However, around 175 companies are still well adrift from the 33% target, and there are still 44 all-male executive committees.

Despite some progress over the last 12 months, the review is calling for business leaders to take further decisive action, ensuring that 50% of all leadership position appointments next year are women.

Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of the review, said: “This is the penultimate Hampton-Alexander Review report and we enter our final year with great momentum behind us. If this progress continues into 2020, our targets for Women on Boards will be met.

“Whilst this is a key indicator of change at the top, strengthening the number of women in executive positions is critical to achieving long-term gender balance. We are still a long way from reaching the target for women in senior leadership roles below board level. Unless half of all appointments made this year go to women – our target for 2020 is not going to be met.”

The latest findings were unveiled at an event at the Bank of Scotland headquarters on The Mound in Edinburgh. Panellists and speakers included Denise Wilson, chief executive of The Hampton-Alexander Review; Catherine Burnet, senior partner at KPMG, Melanie Richards, partner at KPMG UK; Jacqui Ferguson, who sits on the boards of Tesco Bank, Croda and Wood Group; Charles Berry of Weir Group; and Fiona Cannon, group director for responsibility and inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group.

 Scottish data


Rank in Sector Company Sector FTSE List Women on Boards Combined Exec Comm & DR
1 Scottish Investment Trust Equity Investment Instruments 250 40% 33.3%
2 Standard Life Aberdeen Life Insurance 100 21.4% 31.6%
2 Cairn Energy Oil & Gas Producers 250 22.2% 25.6%
3 Weir Group Industrial Engineering 250 30% 17.8%
3 Barr Beverages 250 20% 26.8%
4 Royal Bank Of Scotland Banks 100 23.1% 33.9%
5 Wood Group Oil Equipment & Services 250 40% 15.9%
6 Aggreko       Support Services 250 33.3% 27.1%
8 SSE Electricity 100 22.2% 19.1%
24 First Group Travel & Leisure 250 22.2% 21.7%

UK-wide data:

Reported numbers for Women on Boards of FTSE 350, as at 14th October   2019 from Source – BoardEx, show:

  • FTSE 100 is at 32.4% up from 30.2% in 2018
  • FTSE 250 is at 29.6% up from 24.9% In 2018
  • FTSE 350 is at 30.6% up from 26.7% in 2018
  • FTSE 350 has 2 All-Male boards, down from 5 in 2018


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