Women now account for 19% of FTSE 100 and 15% of FTSE 250 board positions, a report from Cranfield School of Management has found.
This is the highest level of women in boardroom positions since Cranfield first began monitoring it in 1999.
The report found nearly all (94%) FTSE 100 companies acknowledge the need for greater diversity at board level and 65% have a clear policy around it. However only 42% disclose their metrics and only 27% address diversity in the board evaluation process.
In the FTSE 250, although 82% of companies recognise the need for greater diversity, only 18% have a clear diversity policy.
Susan Vinnicombe, director of the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders and co-author of the report said: “We are definitely seeing a cultural shift taking place within UK business.
“It has been a long and slow journey but it is encouraging to see the UK is making steady progress towards the 2015 target of 25%. I am confident that with renewed effort over the next two years we should reach the target.”
Commenting on the findings, minister for women and equalities Maria Miller said: “We have made significant progress in removing barriers which prevent those that choose to work from achieving their full potential, but what we also need to see is business embracing a wider cultural change.”
She added that FTSE 250 firms must ensure they are producing and publishing policies on boardroom diversity. “I want firms to redouble their efforts on both fronts to ensure we are enabling women to fully contribute their talent,” she said.
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