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Hot topic: Higher women on boards targets

FTSE 100 firms met a voluntary 25% women on boards target – but Lord Davies suggested we should take this further

Is 33% women on FTSE 350 boards by 2020 a realistic target? What can HR do to help their organisations reach it?

Heather Jackson, founder and chair of An Inspirational Journey, says:

"Businesses don’t die, people kill them, and if you don’t develop or attract the best talent to your organisation you will suffer the consequences.

What gets measured usually gets done. We need to recognise this figure [women on boards] cannot just include non-executive positions to bolster the numbers, we have to target the executive positions too. The underrepresentation of women at board level is still a problem.

No organisation can succeed in delivering these targets if the responsibility is left solely with the CEO and executive team. Results can only be truly delivered if all leaders in the line take an interest in this issue. Companies need to make this about leadership and performance.

We need the best and most diverse-thinking people in our teams regardless of gender, ethnicity or social mobility to ensure we continue to grow corporate UK. We also need firms to recognise it’s not just about delivering on the numbers, it’s about growing them and the only way we can do this effectively and sustainably is to grow a culture of inclusivity.

Rather than chastising we need to be communicating case study examples and highlighting tangible, sustainable management solutions to help organisations deliver on this issue. We need to help ensure that corporate UK is an attractive environment where the best brains and talent will want to work.

While achieving a steady and sustained increase is no doubt a positive step forward in the number of women in top roles, we are by no means where we need to be yet. Accepting that you can’t right a wrong overnight, companies need support to achieve real change.

Targets need to be set at all levels of the management structure and not just executive level. The intention is often there, it’s the execution and implementation of solutions that are causing a slow burn in results."

Check back tomorrow for the second part of this Hot Topic.