3 November 2015

The UK's 350 largest companies should aim to have a third of their board positions filled by women by 2020, which means promoting around 350 more women into top positions.

This is the headline recommendation of Lord Davies in his final report on the voluntary, business-led, approach to increasing representation of women on FTSE 100 boards to at least 25% by 2015.

As the UK’s FTSE 100 companies reached that milestone earlier this year, Lord Davies has completed his work by setting a new target for FTSE 350 boards. His report, "Improving the gender balance on British boards" can be found here.

Welcoming the new target, CBI Interim Chief Policy Director Matthew Fell said: "The UK's voluntary approach is working, so it's right that this report sets business a stretching new voluntary target. Businesses must now keep up the momentum by continuing to work on building the talent pipeline, increasing the representation of women in executive roles and narrowing the gender pay gap."

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has also given its backing to the report with its chairwoman, Lady Barbara Judge, saying that the Government has the full support of the business community in this initiative.

"Employers must make sure they are supporting women throughout their careers," she said, "particularly around issues like childcare. Women that make it to the top must also help others follow in their footsteps, by acting as role models and mentors."

For the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), President Nora Senior said that gender discrimination has no place in the workplace in 21st century Britain.

"We should not lose sight of the fact that business still needs to step up to the task of nurturing the pipeline of women at middle management level on to executive teams," she pointed out.