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FTSE 100 firms double the number of women at board level, appointing 18 over six months

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Lord Davies’ report gave FTSE 100 companies until yesterday to sign up to the 25% female representation at board level but an extension has been given until the end of the month, for companies to ‘make their intentions known’.

According to research by the Observer, over the past six months, FTSE 100 firms have appointed 18 women to their boards, representing 31% of all appointments made over the period.

Chris Parke, CEO at Talking Talent, said: "It is positive news that six month's on from Lord Davies' report in February, Britain's biggest companies have doubled the number of women on their boards. "I have always stated that I am not in favour of quotas as way of recruiting talent, but I do believe in the need to promote diversity in the workplace, and the time has come for a cultural shift - the figures looking like we could be making progress.

"The onus lies with business to take drastic action and support women through critical transition points in their careers. In doing so, organisations will open themselves up to a wider pool of talent as well as encourage a higher number of women to operate at board level.

"As businesses reprioritise there should also be a focus on helping employees (at all levels) across the company to find a more meaningful balance between the different parts of their identity including their work and home/family life. Clearly one size does not fit all, and career models need to be adjusted to suit the individual(s) concerned - to help them find a way of successfully managing their workload, through flexible working, and which suits their home and/or family commitments.

"It is important to attract and retain female talent at all levels, which includes the feeder levels into the Board. There is a need to support and nurture women as they progress through the business, and to look at the area of employee engagement."