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Business News 2009
Business News->Cranfield Female FTSE Index: 100 Women to Watch
Cranfield Female FTSE Index: 100 Women to Watch

19 November 2009

Sarah Churchman, director of Diversity at PwC LLPThe annual Cranfield Female FTSE Index & Report monitoring the male-female composition of FTSE boardrooms, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, paints a discouraging picture for women’s progress to the board of FTSE companies, and claims “corporate Britain is failing women.” Commenting on the results, Sarah Churchman, director of Diversity, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said: “I’m optimistic that the recession has not broken the pipeline of female leaders for UK plc, but the report is a wake up call for more than just the FTSE.

“The worst case scenario is that the byproduct of the recession is to stall or reverse gender diversity progress and investment across business, not just in listed firms, and thus short changing the UK economy’s recovery by removing or alienating a generation of female talent.

“In fact there is a wider pool of ‘women in waiting’ for the FTSE 100 working in a variety of other organisations so the issue is one of wider business and enterprises’ investment in the supply of female middle and senior management, and not just that of the FTSE100.

“We need to secure and maintain the development of women in professional services too, because it contributes to creating a business environment that is rewarding for women and business, and makes an important contribution to fueling the leadership pipeline for UK plc.

“Our own experience shows that the pipeline is easily fractured. When we undertook focused, detailed analysis and action on our female leadership pipeline in our Advisory team, we could see the results within 2-3 years, but it required sustained investment and commitment. You need to ask difficult questions, affect change in both men and women, and it’s about more than quotas.”

The PwC Advisory Women’s Leadership programme to build the pipeline of female partners (the most senior position) for the firm’s Advisory division has radically improved the leadership pipeline for the division, and is currently being rolled out across the firm in the UK.

Using an actuarial model to monitor and analyse women’s progression through the ranks in the firm over six years, it resulted in the creation of a programme specifically identifying and addressing the barriers to women’s progression, providing female staff with targeted development, building mentoring relationships between senior executives and female staff, and providing bias awareness training.

The results of the first two years of the programme were:

* 2007/8 – 20% of partner admissions were women

* 2008/9 – 25% of partner admissions were women

This compares with zero internal female partner admissions in Advisory in the years prior to the programme's launch.

About The Cranfield Female FTSE Index

The Cranfield Female FTSE Index & Report monitoring the male-female composition of FTSE The number of directorships held by women on the FTSE 100 corporate boards has remained at the same level as in 2008 at 12%. The number of companies with female executive directors is down to 15 (from 16). In addition there is a decline in the overall number of companies with women on boards resulting in one in four companies having exclusively male boards. The % of female appointments has risen from 10.7% to 14.7%. 2281 women on corporate boards and exec committees/senior teams of all the FTSE listings. The report supports a voluntary quota of 30% of women on corporate boards over a ten year period.

PwC research released this year examined initial impressions of the impact of the recession on women’s careers, and the wider legacy of the downturn in three years’ time, showing that:

- 73% believe the recession will be an opportunity for women looking to exit corporate life to take redundancy as a new start

- 45% believe it will lead to a shift of women into SME/social enterprise careers

- 40% of respondents said that they believe women’s roles will change to become the main earner

- One in three believe women’s role as primary carer will have changed when the recession is over (36%)

The respondents, from the UK, Europe, Americas and Australasia, were dominated by women working in the banking, finance and professional services sector in London and the south of England.

Click here to download a copy of the FTSE Index Report 2009 pdf icon
Click here to download a copy of the FTSE Index 100 Women to Watch pdf icon

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