Here at The Broadcast PR Business we take a strong interest in the progression of women into leadership and the movement of women onto boards is no less important.
Now KPMG has launched new research with Oxford Brookes University (pictured) and the 30% Club, called “Changing Places: Women on Boards” which we are happy to pass on.
Reading the release, it was interesting to see KPMG reference the work of the Davies Report of five years ago that women were being overlooked on board appointments. We interviewed Lord Davies at that time and he stated that he didn’t believe in quotas but he had become increasingly aware of the large pool of talented women from different backgrounds who could make an important contribution on company boards. Watch our interview here…
Now KPMG is furthering this important research and this is the first major UK study into the exchange of board-level talent between business and academia. This has found that UK boards lag behind their US counterparts when it comes to professional and sector diversity.
KPMG reports that:
• US company boards are over seven times as likely to include a senior academic compared to boards in the UK.
• There are currently just eight academic NEDs on the boards of FTSE 100 companies, whereas there are 59 academic directors serving on Fortune 100 boards in the US.
• UK board chairs interviewed for the research saw two major areas where academic NEDs can make a valuable contribution: where the academic expertise matches the company focus and where they bring university executive leadership to company boards.
• There is an informal bias against having academics on corporate boards, expressing concern that academics might argue on intellectual rather than commercial lines and hamper board discussions.
Commenting on the findings Melanie Richards, Vice Chair at KPMG in the UK, said:
“By bringing together a more diversified group, business may benefit from more thoughtful discussions, which should strengthen the quality of decision making and outcomes.
“It is clear that academia remains a largely untapped talent pool for UK plc and there is much work to be done to promote mobility in both directions”
The study also highlighted that the flow of female talent from business to university boards is relatively healthy compared to female academics entering corporate boardrooms. 33% of women on university boards come from the private sector whereas less than 2% of female NEDs in the FTSE 100 come from academia. This means cross-sector mobility also has huge potential to improve the gender diversity of boards.
Added to this, higher education is more gender diverse than business with women holding nearly 40% of university boardroom roles. By widening their search to include senior academics, UK corporates would also be significantly widening the pool of female candidates.
Professor Simonetta Manfredi, Professor in Equality and Diversity Management and Director of the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes University, commented:
“There has been good progress in improving equality in recent years for both academic and corporation boards, but more work needs to be done. Through this report, I hope we can build on this momentum and encourage businesses to seize the opportunity to benefit further from the skills and knowledge of senior academics.”
The study ends with some practical suggestions to achieving this:
1. Promote business understanding of academic capabilities.
2. Increase academic participation on company boards.
3. Encourage more women to apply for university board roles.
4. Advise women to think about board roles earlier.
5. Help recruiters to understand female career patterns.
About Oxford Brookes University’s Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice
Set in a historic student city, Oxford Brookes is one of the UK’s leading universities and enjoys an international reputation for teaching excellence and innovation as well as strong links with business and industry. More information is available on the Oxford Brookes website at http://www.brookes.ac.uk
The Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice was established in 2004. It is a cross-institutional centre which specialises in inter-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange on equality and diversity with a focus on work and organisational settings and its wider societal impact. The Centre brings together academic and management expertise from the University’s Faculty of Business, School of Law and the Directorate of Human Resources. Its main activities include: interdisciplinary research linking legal and management perspectives to inform equality policies and practices in the workplace and around; events to facilitate debate and discussion on equality and diversity issues between academics, policy-makers, trade unions, senior managers and equality specialists; consultancy and knowledge exchange to assist organisations in developing and implementing equality programmes. Further information is available on the Centre’s webpages.
About 30% Club
The 30% Club campaign was launched in the UK in 2010 with a target of achieving a minimum of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards – currently the figure stands at 26% up from 12.5%. As of 2016, that target has been expanded beyond the FTSE-100 to a minimum of 30% women on FTSE-350 boards by 2020. In tandem with this, the 30% Club has introduced a pipeline target of a minimum of 30% women at senior management level of FTSE-100 companies by 2020.
The 30% Club was founded by Helena Morrissey CBE, Chair of Newton Investment Management and Chair of the Investment Association. Day-to-day activities in the UK are now led by 30% Club Global Chair, Brenda Trenowden of ANZ, and a Steering Committee.
The 30% Club currently has Clubs across the world in the US, Canada, Australia, the GCC, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, Italy and Southern Africa.
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £1.96 billion in the year ended September 2015. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.