EY Partners With Cranfield University to Highlight the Lack of Women in Executive Roles

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EY partnered with Cranfield University’s School of Management to shed light on the lack of women holding positions in executive roles, as shown in the Female FTSE Board Report of 2022.

“Our partnership with EY in producing this report is important and I hope it sets the tone for the kind of collaboration that is needed to make a fairer future for everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or family background,” said Professor Karen Holford, CBE, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor at Cranfield University.

The report looks at yearly trends in female representation on Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 and FTSE 250 boards. The Female FTSE Board Report, sponsored and supported by EY, has measured executive trends in the UK since 1999.

“It’s time to move beyond Board level targets,” Alison Kay, Managing Partner for Client Service at EY UK and Ireland, said in the foreword of the report. “So far, we have managed to increase the number of women at the very top of FTSE companies but have fallen woefully short of their intended outcome — distributing the power and influence necessary to achieve true gender parity. They risk becoming the goal — a box to be ticked rather than part of a wider transformation within an organization.”

The report shows that 91% of women on FTSE 100 boards are in Non-Executive Director roles. Less than 1 in 10 CEOs is a woman.

“We have exhausted all the so-called ‘low hanging fruit’ and now it is time for the tough decisions to push further towards 50% women on boards and into root and branch reform,” said EY’s Alison Kay. “It’s not enough to create parity of numbers in a Board’s intake, it’s about whether the organization has created a culture, and an operating structure where there is parity, not of representation but recognition — are women’s voices heard? Do they hold sway? Are their decisions actioned? Is the way they work reflected, not in diversity programs, but in the grit and grain of running a business?”

EY hopes this report will be the catalyst to start conversations in boardrooms and organizations across the country, supporting the next steps for change.

Read the full report here.

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