Current state of gender diversity

Gender diversity in UK business – all sectors (FTSE)


The Davies report (2015) recommended that UK FTSE 350 boards have at least 33% women on their boards by 2020. The Hampton-Alexander Review (2016) added the same 33% target for senior leadership roles (executive committee members and their direct reports – ie one and two levels down from the board) and also looked at the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250.


The final Hampton-Alexander Review report published in February 2021 showed that for women on boards both the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 had met the 33% target at the beginning of 2020.


In February 2022, the FTSE Women Leaders Review was published for the first time, as the third and successor phase to the Hampton-Alexander and Davies Reviews.


It revealed that the number of women on boards for the FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and FTSE 350 has continued to rise during 2021 at 39.1% (up from 36.2% in 2020), 36.8% (up from 33.2%) and 37.6% (up from 34.3%) respectively.   85 FTSE 100 boards have met or exceeded the old 33% target and almost half now have 40% or more women on their board. In the FTSE 250, almost 200 boards (77%) have met the 33% target and 92 now have 40% or more women on their board. There have been no all-male boards in the FTSE 350 since 2020.


However, the number of women in executive director board positions in 2021 remained low at just 13.5% for FTSE 100 (down from 14.2% in 2020), 11.6% for the FTSE 250 and 12.3% for the whole of the FTSE 350.  The number of women in leadership (combined executive committee and their direct reports) now stands at 32.5% for FTSE 100 and 30.7% for FTSE 250 and the number of all-male executive committees in FTSE 350 is 16, down from 54 in 2017. 


The FTSE Women Leaders Review notes that “the number of women in the very top job, that is the CEO, remains flat and stubbornly low, and there is much more to do on Executive Committees, and in some key functional roles, in particular the Finance Director and the Chief Information Officer.”   It offers four recommendations that include increasing the voluntary target from 33% to 40% and for all FTSE 350 companies to have at least one female Chair or Senior Independent Director on the Board and/or one woman CEO or FD by the end of 2025.



UK energy sector only:


Our own analysis at POWERful Women, supported by PwC UK, shows that, as at Q1 2021, women still occupy only 24% of all (executive and non-executive) board seats (up from 21% in 2020) and 14% of executive board positions (up from 13% in 2020).


Less than a third (31%) of UK energy boards have met the Hampton-Alexander 33% target, 41% of boards have one or more women on their board but don’t meet the 33% target and 28% of companies have no women on their board at all.   When it comes to women in executive director roles on the board, 19% of UK energy companies have met the PfW target of 30% for this, only 4% of companies have one or more women in executive director roles but don’t meet the 30% target, and 78% of companies have no women in executive director board roles at all.


Find the full 2021 Board Stats for the UK energy industry here, including the press release and the full list of statistics by company.