The latest and third report from think tank New Financial, Counting Every Woman, shows that female representation has increased across all 12 sectors on both boards and excos.
Counting Every Woman 2017, measures female representation on boards and executive committees of 240 companies and institutions across 12 sectors including banks, asset managers, hedge funds, investment banks, pension funds and regulators of capital markets in Europe.
While the data shows on average women are under-represented at the highest levels, the good news is that the numbers are moving in the right direction across all sectors.
A quarter (25%) of board directors at firms and organisations in the European banking and finance industry are women, and almost one in five (18%) executive committee members are female. This is not far off the FTSE 100 average, where 27% of board positions and 19% of exco roles are held by women.
The numbers are moving in the right direction. The percentage of women on boards has increased by five percentage points to 25% since we published our first report in 2014. Female representation on excos has risen by three percentage points to 18%.
All sectors have improved over the past two years. Female representation has increased for all 12 sectors in our exco sample and all nine sectors in our board sample over the past two years. More than half (55%) of companies have increased female representation on excos over the past year, and almost half (48%) have improved gender diversity on their board.
Now is not the time to get complacent – while progress has been made, there is still work to be done. If we apply the target of 33% female representation on executive committees by 2020 recommended by the Hampton-Alexander Review, the industry on average would miss it by four years.
There is a marked difference between boards and executive committees. Average female representation on boards at banks, for example, stands at 33%, more than double the number on excos at 13%. On average, gender diversity on boards is more than a third higher than on excos.
There is a wide range of gender diversity across different sectors in the sample. Average female representation on excos is 9% for hedge funds and 10% for private equity, rising to 30% for regulators and 31% for trade bodies.
The 25% average female representation on boards disguises the lack of women holding executive director positions. The proportion of female non-executive directors (26%) is more than twice that of female executive directors (12%).
Women who do sit on excos tend to be in support roles rather than in C-suite or revenue generating functions. Nearly two thirds of heads of human resources (64%) and more than half of heads of communications (56%) who sit on excos in our sample are women, but only 14% of heads of division or region, 12% of the C-suite, and 7% of CEOs are female.