Retail best sector for gender diversity in senior roles despite FTSE 350 standstill

female managers

Retail was the best performing sector in terms of its representation of women in senior positions last year, but companies in the wider FTSE 350 have stalled on progress.

According to The Pipeline Report’s Women Count 2018, gender diversity across senior roles in the FTSE 350 has seen no progress in the past three years.

However, retail companies were in the top quartile for three of the key measures analysed in the report.

On average women hold 22 per cent of the roles on executive committees in FTSE 350 retail companies, eight per cent of the profit and loss (P&L) roles on executive committees and 15 per cent of the executive director roles in their boards.

Despite this, the report argues that as retail is so heavily reliant on P&L, the number of women in these roles was concerning.

In the FTSE 350 overall, the ratio of women on executive committees has stayed at 16 per cent for three years, while just five per cent of P&L roles on executive committees are held by females.

“I was really surprised to read the results in The Pipeline’s report, I think it’s disappointing to see the lack of progress over the last three years,” N Brown Group chief customer officer Ann Steer said.

“When I think about my journey at N Brown, when I started the board was all male, I was one of half a dozen female senior managers.

“Now we’ve got a female chief executive, two fifths of the Executive Committee are women and at the next level down, senior manager level, almost half are women in our business.

“I think it’s important to be able to relate to your customer and to champion the customer.

“Equally I think mixed groups men and women make better decisions together because effectively you’ve got diversity of thinking, more collaboration more flexibility as we move round different problems and challenges.”

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