We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
RSS FeedPeople Management

Headhunters dispute claims board selection favours men

Headhunters argue main problem is number of women applying for board appointments

Article comments

Board level selection at the UK’s top companies is rigorous but a lack of female applications limits appointments, says headhunters, refuting a new study’s claims that recruitment is hindering the appointment of women.

A report released on Monday by Equality and Human Rights Commission said recruitment is hampering the appointment of women to non-executive positions at FTSE 350 companies because the selection process continues to favour men.

But Mark Freebairn, a partner and head of the financial management practice, disputed the findings in the study, produced by Cranfield School of Management.

“I don’t agree with what they are saying. It’s moved away from ‘let’s all go out for lunch’ and the chairman says ‘let’s find someone who enjoys hunting!’ There’s much more of a challenge for the headhunter,” Freebairn said.

Chairmen increasingly only look at all-female lists, he added.

Suzzane Wood, who specialises in board-level finance and non-executive assignments at search firm Russell Reynolds, said the problem lay in a lack of women applying for board level roles.

“There is a gender issue because the supply of women doesn’t meeting the demand in executive and non executive roles. Until we have more females applying we have got a problem,” Wood said.

But she said the appetite to hire women to board positions was “higher than it’s ever been”.

Most search firms signed up to a voluntary search code last July to improve the gender balance on FTSE 350 boards in response to the Davies report. The code also covers succession planning, diversity goals, defining a client brief to balance experience with relevant skills, the value of diverse long lists and support during the selection process.



Headhunters dispute claims board selection favours men
People Management

Finance skills evolve as the recovery takes hold

Finance skills evolve as the recovery takes hold

Finance teams need to learn soft skills as corporate priorities evolvemore ..

Unemployment falls to five-year low

Headline rate of unemployment at 6.9% as wages rise above inflation ratemore ..

Microsaic Systems appoints new FD

Andrew Darby to succeed Malcolm Batemanmore ..

United Utilities CFO joins board of Orange Polska

Appointment of Russ Houlden at telco’s board effective immediatelymore ..

Do you have what it takes to become a non-executive?

The benefits of board service for CFOsmore ..

How level is the playing field for women in business?

Vince Cable moots women-only shortlists just ahead of international women’s daymore ..

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

In Depth
How M&A teams can create value by challenging the CEO

How M&A teams can create value by challenging the CEO

A typical “hold” period of nine to 18 months can generate increased sale value more ..

In Depth
What every company needs to do about big data?

What every company needs to do about big data?

In the first of a three part series, Pat Brans explores just how big 'big data' will get? more ..


* *