EEF: women occupy 1 in 5 FTSE 100 manufacturers’ board seats

Posted on 18 Mar 2013

Manufacturing companies in the FTSE 100 have a higher than average number of women on their boards compared to the rest of the index, according to a new report by manufacturers’ organisation EEF.

The research, produced in partnership with Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking and Cranfield School of Management, highlights how, out of the 29 manufacturing firms within the FTSE 100, women account for 19% of board positions, which is slightly higher than the 17% average of the entire FTSE 100.

Of the 309 FTSE 100 manufacturing board seats, 59 seats are held by women.

Women make up 23% of all non-executive directorships and 8% of all executive directorships within the Manufacturing FTSE 100.

The study also includes a new ranking of the number of women on FTSE 100 manufacturing boards. GlaxoSmithKline tops the 2013 Female FTSE 100 ranking of manufacturing firms, with five women making up 33% of their board. In second place is Diageo, with four women out of eleven directors.

However, EEF’s report suggests that the UK is lagging behind the rest of Europe with regards to the number of female engineers.

Currently, nine out of ten engineers are male and, 20% of the manufacturing and engineering workforce is female compared to 49% in other sectors.

EEF CEO Terry Scuoler said: “Whilst manufacturing is making progress there is no getting away from the fact that women are substantially under-represented in our sector at a time when industry needs to be tapping into every potential talent pool to access the skills it needs.”

Since 2008 the number of female engineers has gone up just 1% to 6%. In Spain they are 18%, in Italy they are 20% and in Sweden they are 26%.

EEF is calling for a national campaign to increase the number of women studying STEM topics to professional level, as well as to promote apprenticeships and other vocational routes into work.

Mr Scuoler added: “Some will argue for quotas for women on boards but this would not address the underlying need for a substantial increase in the pipeline of women with engineering and other key skills going into industry. We need a huge national effort to make this happen and government, education, and industry itself all have a major role to play.”