Government set to support a new five-year review aimed at increasing opportunities for women at the top of Britain’s biggest companies

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The government has announced that it would back a new five-year review to monitor women’s representation in the upper rungs of FTSE companies, namely The FTSE Women Leaders Review, and encourage firms to open up opportunities to everyone.

According to the government, research has found that having diversity at the top can improve companies’ profitability, and government is eager to ensure everyone, whatever their background, has equal opportunity to succeed and achieve on merit to make the most of talent across the UK.

Business Minister Paul Scully commented on the announcement: “UK business has taken great strides when it comes to gender diversity at board level, underlining the success of the government’s voluntary approach.

“Companies shouldn’t take their foot off the gas. Evidence shows that more diverse businesses are more successful businesses – the case is too strong to ignore.”

Earlier this year the final report of the government-backed Hampton Alexander Review, which ran from 2015 to 2020, found that its main target had been more than met, with over a third (34.3%) of FTSE350 board positions held by women.

This marked a huge increase of 50% over 5 years. The numbers of ‘one and done’ boards – with only one woman member – dwindled from 116 in 2015 to just 16 earlier this year.

New leadership is currently being appointed to steer the review, and take forward new targets over the coming years.

The FTSE Women Leaders Review Portal is now open for all FTSE 350 companies to submit their Women in Leadership gender data from Monday 1 November until Tuesday 30 November 2021.

The next annual report will be published in February 2022.

More information is available on the FTSE website.