Board candidates – tell us your story

by Laura Carstensen

Published: 16 Feb 2015

The lack of women around our boardroom tables is still an issue, despite widespread media coverage over the last few years.

Some progress has been made on this important issue: latest figures show that women now make up 23 per cent of FTSE 100 board positions – up from 12.5 per cent in 2011.

However, the proportion of female executive directors remain low – eight per cent in the FTSE 100 and just five per cent in the FTSE 250.

Despite the progress made there is still work to be done to meet the targets set by Lord Davies. To this end, here at the Equality and Human Rights Commission we are well underway with our own formal Inquiry.

We want to work with companies to ensure that board appointments are made on merit following a fair and transparent process. This will help to achieve better representation of women on company boards.

2015 is going to be a busy year for our team, we’ve already contacted FTSE 350 companies as well as a number of executive search firms to get an insight into how things are done.

However, for the next important part of our Inquiry it is vital that we hear from the people (men and women) who have gone through the recruitment process for FTSE board appointments, executive and non-executive positions.

It doesn’t matter if candidates were successful or not we just want to hear individual accounts of how the process works.

How did you become aware of the vacancy, why did you apply, were you approached (if so, by whom), how did the interviews work, how did you find out if you were successful ?

Any information provided in these brief interviews will be held in confidence and securely. Interviewees and the companies will remain anonymous in any published reports.

Our terms of reference relate to appointments made between July 2013 and July 2014 so it’s important that your personal experience falls within this period.     

Getting first-hand accounts from candidates who have been through this process is so important.

We need to hear from everyone involved so that our recommendations can help companies and their agents to achieve sustainable change.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, the presence of a woman at the board table won’t even be a talking point.

If you are willing to answer a few short questions, or know someone who might be, please email or ring 0207 553 4809 and ask for Nena Foster.