I am delighted to welcome the second annual Women Count report. This is a highly valuable report as it is the only one tracking the number of women on executive committees in the FTSE 350 and their resulting economic impact.
Women Count 2017 continues to confirm that FTSE 350 companies with 25% or more women on their Executive Committees perform better financially. It is therefore very concerning that the percentage of women on Executive Committees has stagnated at 16% for the second year. It is clear companies will have to do more systematically to meet the Government’s target of 33% by 2020.
Disappointingly, there has also been a drop in the percentage of women on executive committees in FTSE 350 companies that hold P&L roles. This is adversely affecting the opportunities for companies to appoint female executive directors to main plc boards and decreases the likelihood of creating more female FTSE CEOs.
Facing such rapid changes, today’s responses will no longer meet tomorrow’s challenges. With this disruption, where people can’t learn as fast as technology is changing, we need agile leaders. Evidence shows more women on executive committees improves decision making. The ability to ask great questions and create diverse teams is key and these are core skills McKinsey research finds women apply more frequently than men.
In such turbulent times optimising all our talent, especially one that is seen to have such a correlation on increasing returns, should be a priority for any organisation.
Chairman London Stock Exchange Group