Hampton-Alexander Review

A summary of the Hampton-Alexander FTSE Women Leaders review

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The government-backed independent Hampton-Alexander review of gender balance in FTSE Leadership was launched in early November 2016. We’ve produced a short summary of the findings from the report, including which companies have already implemented some changes.

There has been a gradual increase in the amount of women on boards within the FTSE 350, which now stands at 23%. The increase was most prominent in 2015 but has slowed down this year, due to a decrease in focus around women on boards. The report advises companies on how they can improve their gender imbalance and focus on development and diversity.

Measure the pipeline
Companies should include an analysis of the percentage of women at every level of the company, how often women are promoted, and the level of promotion for both men and women. It is also a good idea to have a representation of women in training programmes and in high potential groups.

Establish business rationale and set a target
Ensure that the business rationale is clear, tangible and unassailable, and is an important foundation.

Initiatives that work
Initiatives need to address specific challenges faced. Focus on the most important challenges as it will take a number of years before seeing substantial results.

Ensure line manager ownership
Line managers must see benefits of taking action and feel responsible to deliver the initiative.

Measure and improve
Ensure that these initiatives are followed through and implemented. It is important to measure progress and also provide public reporting on this.

Topping the table of country’s markets, Norway have increased the number of women on boards by 3% while the UK has only made marginal progress. However numerous companies have put into action a plan to enable them to become more balanced and diverse.

BHP Billiton stated that they have focused on four particular focus areas for inclusion and diversity.

  • Visible leadership commitments, ownership and accountability
  • Creating an inclusive work environment
  • Achieving gender balance
  • Leveraging systems, processes and data driven decision making.

Their aim is to try to ensure that their company is more attractive to women by using specific advertising that target based on skill sets rather than experience, in which they partnered with an agency focused on targeted female advertising. Following this, they tried to combat stereotypes in the mining industry, running a bring your daughter to work day in one team to encourage younger generations of women in employees families to come and find out more about the company and the type of work involved.

Lloyds Banking Group were the first FTSE 100 companies to commit to improving gender diversity within senior management. They are looking to remove barriers which prevent women from progressing and want to focus on talent and skills.

Overall, creating a gender balance has been noted as positive to a company’s interests. Vittorio Colado, CEO of Vodafone suggests that society is a 50/50 balance and therefore businesses should reflect this. The FRC recently welcomed the report and inline with the recommendations from the government led Governance consultation will utilise this information to update the UK Corporate Governance Code.

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