‘All the good ones have been snapped up’ – and other excuses men give for not having women on boards

PUBLISHED: 10:48 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:48 31 May 2018

The Hampton-Alexander Review wants a third of all board members at FTSE companies to be women by 2020. Picture: Ian Burt

The Hampton-Alexander Review wants a third of all board members at FTSE companies to be women by 2020. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Women “don’t fit in” in the boardroom, “don’t want the hassle” of top jobs or can’t understand the “extremely complex” workings of a board.

These are among the “pitiful and patronising” excuses given by leading businesses to a government-backed review into why more women are not appointed to senior positions.

The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released its top excuses ahead of the Hampton-Alexander Review reaching its halfway mark in June.

READ MORE: See the number of female board members at East Anglia’s biggest companies

Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: “It’s shocking that some businesses think these pitiful and patronising excuses are acceptable reasons to keep women from the top jobs.

“Our most successful companies are those that champion diversity.”

BEIS said on Wednesday the number of male-only FTSE 350 company boards fell from 152 in 2011 to 10 in 2017.

The Hampton-Alexander Review has recommended a third of senior FTSE positions are filled by women by 2020.

Review chairman Sir Philip Hampton added: “Around a third of FTSE 350 companies still have very few women either on their boards or in senior leadership roles.

“We used to hear these excuses regularly a few years ago, thankfully much less so now.

“However, leaders expressing warm words of support but actually doing very little to appoint women into top jobs – or quietly blocking progress – are really not much better.”

Among the excuses given to the review, according to BEIS, were:

1. “I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment”

2. “There aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board - the issues covered are extremely complex”

3. “Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board”

4. “Shareholders just aren’t interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?”

5. “My other board colleagues wouldn’t want to appoint a woman on our board”

6. “All the ‘good’ women have already been snapped up”

7. “We have one woman already on the board, so we are done - it is someone else’s turn”

8. “There aren’t any vacancies at the moment - if there were I would think about appointing a woman”

9. “We need to build the pipeline from the bottom - there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector”

10. “I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to”

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