144 down, eight to go. As of February 2018, less than 10 big UK companies had all-male boards of directors.
"U.K. companies have been under pressure to add women directors since a 2011 independent review into the gender balance in the boardrooms of the nation’s top 350 companies. At the time, 43 percent were governed by entirely male boards."
Those remaining eight are from a range of industries, but what they have in common is investors who are satisfied with a lack of diversity. It is promising then that L&G, Standard Life Aberdeen, and BlackRock are now putting a greater focus on diversity and expect more from boards.
Boardroom diversity is not something that can be fixed overnight, but gender diversity best practice certainly paves the way:
- Set the tone from the top and ensure there are ambassadors throughout the business. Engaging men in the conversation is a core part of making gender diversity a reality
- Measurement and targets track progress and keep diversity on the agenda for leadership and stakeholders
- Communicating the business case for diversity makes it something more likely to be embraced by an organization. Diverse organizations can benefit from enhanced financial performance, better sales, improved innovation and performance, and better market reputation
- Build a pipeline of female leaders who can one day enter the board, but in the meantime will act as role models and help to attract and retain top female talent.
Legal & General Investment Management is the latest institution to say it will vote against boards that are not at least 25 percent female. Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, one of Britain’s largest fund management groups, has said it will vote against boards where men hold more than 80 percent of seats. Standard Life voted Thursday against the Herald Investment Trust because its board has no women, a spokesman said. Among the FTSE 250, Herald has one of 11 all-male boards, a group that’s grown from eight earlier this year.