The Evidence Base

All our programmes are based on an holistic understanding of current academic and economic research.

A growing body of evidence is emerging to show the critical importance of gender diversity to business success. Yet recent reports have shown that there is much further to go:

  • The proportion of women board directors (executive and non executive) on FTSE 100s has increased to 22.8% in October 2014, up from 20.7% in March) (BIS 9/10/14).
  • However there is some way to go to reach the target of 25% by March 2015, set by Vince Cable in response to Lord Davies of Abersoch’s 2011 report on board diversity.
  • The figures are lower still in the FTSE 250, where just 15% of directors are women and 6% of executive committee and board positions are held by women (Sunday Times 2/11/14).
  • Research by Norman Broadbent into female board diversity in FTSE 100 & 250 found that although overall progress has been made in increasing the number of female appointments to boards, particularly NEDs, the number of women Executive Directors is still relatively low at around 7% in FTSE 100s and 4% in FTSE 250 (Board Review 2014).
  • Of the 700 top jobs in the FTSE 350 (CEO and Chief Finance Officer), just 34 (5%) are held by women (Man-Made, John Edmonds/Eva Tutchell, published spring 2015)
  • 8.5% of executive directors are female (Style 2/11/14).

The Pipeline Women Count 2016 report: The Number and Value of Female Executives in the FTSE 350

McKinsey’s most recent report, Diversity Matters also highlights these issues.

At the MK-LF Partnership we have also commissioned qualitative and quantitative research into this field. Click here for the Executive Summary of our 2013 research report and bibliography of useful resources.


Selected further reading

The Cult of the Leader, Professor Chris Bones, 2011, Wiley

The Social Animal, David Brooks, 2012, Random House

The Psychology of Influence, Professor Robert Caldini, 1993, William Morrow

Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin, 2005, Simon & Schuster

Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, 2011, Macmillan

The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson, 2011, Pan Macmillan

Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, 2013, Random House