Number of female directors
shows rise
of 24pc

The number of women directors has increased by 240,000 over the past five years, but there has been little change in the types of profession where they hold senior positions, according to new research.

Information services firm Experian said there had been a 24 per cent increase in female directors since 2007, compared with a rise of 15 per cent among men.

Half of small companies and 40 per cent of larger firms had female directors, the study found.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Start-up businesses have also been bolstering numbers of female directors employed over the period. A third of the 1.4 million businesses that started up since 2007 had one or more female director, replacing the 297,000 women directors whose companies closed in the same period, said the report.

Hairdressing, primary education and social work have remained the industries with the biggest percentage of all-women boards.

Over the five-year period there were fewer all-female boards in 2012 in some typically male-dominated professions such as plumbing, installation of electricity and software publishing.

Max Firth of Experian said: “Much of the existing available data about female directors focuses on FTSE companies. We’ve used our extensive database, comprising nearly three million companies and 100 industry sectors, to show a more in-depth picture of the number of female directors across the UK.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Smaller companies are clearly the driving force for female directors, but our research shows that larger companies’ efforts to increase the number of female directors has made a significant difference over the past five years.

“And let’s not forget the contribution made by female entrepreneurs, with many starting up their own companies to manage work/life balance and fit with family commitments, without whom the number of female directors would be considerably lower.

“But when it comes to different industry sectors, our data shows that the picture is fairly static. Whilst there are undoubtedly many women who are breaking new ground and overcoming stereotypes, our data shows that amongst the total population of UK companies, the industries with most female directors are pretty much the same as before the recession.”

Small companies are still more likely than large companies to have female directors, it found.

Related topics: