Headhunters told to think outside the boardroom box

By REUTERS
May 28, 2012 04:19

 
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LONDON - A campaign to get more women on to company boards in Britain could struggle to make progress because headhunters and hiring committees are too traditional when recruiting for senior roles, a report said on Monday.

Last year some of the biggest headhunters signed up to a voluntary code of conduct, pledging to improve the gender balance in Britain's boardrooms following a government-sponsored report seeking to double the proportion of women on boards to 25 percent by 2015.

One year on, headhunters are still holding back the process by favoring candidates who are too similar to existing board members, the report produced by Cranfield School of Management for the Equality and Human Rights Commission found.

"The often subjective way of making appointments ends up replicating existing boards rather than bringing in talented women," said Baroness Prosser, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The proportion of women on boards of FTSE 100 companies has risen to 16.0 percent from 12.5 percent over the past year, and from 9.4 percent in 2004. Nine boards among Britain's blue chip companies are still all-male.

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