The issue of the gender balance within the boards of UK companies has firmly moved towards the top of the corporate agenda. Lord Davies well-publicised 2011 Women on Boards report outlined the clear business benefits that more balanced boards bring to companies. It recommended that all FTSE 100 companies should aim for a minimum of 25% female representation in the boardroom by 2015.
In the ensuing 12 months progress has been made – the proportion of women on FTSE 100 boards has risen from 12.5% to 15.6% and there are now just 11 all-male boards remaining, according to an update from Lord Davies in March 2012. However there is clearly some way to go and with the European Union debating whether to impose quotas the issue of board diversity remains at the forefront of corporate thinking.
How does the UK Life Sciences sector compare? To find out RSA commissioned the study Women on Boards: A Life Sciences’ Perspective to find out why there is a gender imbalance in the boardrooms of UK Life Sciences companies and explore what might be done to improve the situation. We also wanted to find out whether the Life Sciences industry is a more favourable place for women to progress to the most senior positions.
It is vital to the overall success of Life Sciences companies that they are led by strong and well-qualified boards, made up of high calibre members with a mix of skills, perspectives and backgrounds. The industry recognises that increased female representation is a key element in remaining competitive. Now it needs to work to ensure that talented individuals have the opportunities they deserve within Life Sciences. We hope that the findings and recommendations laid out in this study will help to achieve this. [an error occurred while processing this directive]