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Businesses Urged to Measure Diversity

posted 20 Dec 2010, 07:15 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Dec 2010, 07:16 ]

British firms are being asked to boost the number of women on
their boards by measuring diversity.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that
the UK Corporate Governance Code be revised so that listed
companies are required to report on diversity within their
company on a "comply or explain basis".

As part of the recommendation to Lord Davies, who is
carrying out a government review on the lack of female
directors, businesses would have to report their progress
against internally-set targets.

Any targets must reflect a company's circumstances so a
business with a large number of female employees would have
to set a higher target of diversity on their board while a
firm with only a handful of female employees would have a
lower target.

Helen Alexander, CBI president, said that more needs to be
done to encourage women into board room positions as females
still remain underrepresented despite accounting for over
half of university graduates.

She said: "We need to see more women progressing through the
ranks and do more to keep them moving along the career
pipeline into the top jobs."

Ms Alexander highlighted the point that initiatives such as
flexible working, mentoring and networking has helped more
female employees reach board room level but said that better
management is needed to help women progress further.

With these changes, businesses may require the advice of
performance improvement consulting experts to help their
organisation learn more sophisticated talent management
techniques in order to deliver world-class solutions.

Other CBI recommendations for improving boardroom diversity
include schemes such as having company chairmen act as
mentors and advocates to female board candidates.

Board-level appointments should also be made more
transparent and women should receive greater support from
flexible working policies when they experience natural
breaks in their careers such as pregnancy.

Meanwhile, there was good news for female employees as
research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has
revealed that the pay gap between men and women has narrowed
by almost one per cent to 15.5 per cent.

An ONS report found that the report the closing in gender
pay gap was a result of women getting bigger pay increases
in 2010 in comparison to previous years.

ONS statistician Mark Williams said: "This year's results
continue the pattern we've seen in recent years of the
gender pay gap tending to get narrower."

The study discovered that there was a 2.2 per cent increase
in women's average hourly pay to £13.73, while men's
wages rose by 1.1 per cent to £16.25.

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