By Hannah Karpel
ollowing 15 devastating months during the pandemic, a new report by The Pipeline has revealed that companies with greater gender diversity at the top have achieved higher profits and companies without female executives suffered bigger COVID-19 financial losses.
“The last year has been dominated by Covid-19, which has disrupted so much. Times of crisis are moments that offer the possibility of major shifts away from established paradigms, but the extreme stresses involved can also drive a response that is regressive”, says Lorna Fitzsimons, co-founder of The Pipeline. Unfortunately, the latter has been proven in the report, as gender parity has been pushed back another four years and is now projected for 2036.
"Gender parity has been pushed back another four years and is now projected for 2036"
Meaningful gender diversity at the top of the UK’s biggest companies remains a significant problem. Women account for only 5% of CEOs in FTSE 350 companies, continuing the sadly familiar trend of previous years. With 95% of these businesses still having a male CEO, almost every major PLC is failing to make progress on gender diversity at the top.
The Women Count 2021 report which is the only one of its kind in the UK that looks into the number of women on executive committees in the FTSE 350 also found that women were excluded from key profit and loss (P&L) roles, with 89% available being taken by men whilst only 11% are filled by women. When women CEOs are in place, they are better at achieving more balanced executive committees - on average appointing four times the number of women than male CEOs.
MORE WOMEN = MORE PROFIT, EVEN DURING COVID
"Women account for only 5% of CEOs in FTSE 350 companies"
The failure to address the UK’s executive gender deficit is costing businesses and the wider economy substantial amounts of money. “The research found that if all FTSE 350 companies with less than 33 percent of women on their executive committees were to achieve the same profit margin as those with 33 per cent and greater, there would be an additional £123 billion in pre-tax profit for the UK economy”, said Lorna. These are vital funds that could have been essential to our national recovery from the pandemic.
“Without decisive action, the future is looking grim for both women who want to be the next boss and the wider economy”, says Margaret McDonagh co-founder of The Pipeline. This is the last opportunity for businesses to step up and take action before the government intervenes to implement regulations.
Lead image: London, UK. 19th January, 2019. Thousands of women taking part in the Global Women's March from BBC Broadcasting House to Trafalgar Square to attend a Bread & Roses Rally Against Austerity organised by Women's March London. Credit: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Live News
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With 95% of FTSE 350 companies still having a male CEO, almost every major PLC is failing to make progress on gender diversity at the top.
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