In 2016, the percentage of women on FTSE 100 company boards reached an all time high. Although this is encouraging news for women in the UK who aspire to sit aside their male counterparts professionally in the coming years, the overall reported rise to 26% is still far from the target of 33% by 2020.
By July 2016, when Cranfield University released their Female FTSE Report, 44 companies in the FTSE 100, and 58 FTSE 250 companies had reached a representation of 27%. Unfortunately these figures show a significant shortfall of companies who failed to reach the 2016 projection, as set out by the Davies report. Although positive steps are being made, there’s still much to be done to reach the 2020 goal.
It seems, however, that there are some big stock market players who are already exceeding expectations and ensuring their boardrooms are an equal representation of the sexes. Unilever is the first FTSE 100 company to have 50% of their board seats occupied by women. A further five companies in the FTSE 250 are following suit with a 50/50 split (Electra Private Equity, Grainger, Halfords Group, Renewable Infrastructure Group, and Woodford Patient Capital Trust.) This is fantastic news for women, particularly in the investment and product R&D sectors.
Companies are being encouraged to not only monitor the gender balance at executive level, but at all levels of management. However, many argue that “fair representation” is only fair, if the right people are being recruited for the right jobs; it’s not just about the numbers.
“At Capital Cell we totally agree, and firmly believe in offering the best opportunities to the best candidates, so we can offer outstanding, expert advice and service to our clients and investors,” says Daniel Oliver, CEO. “With this mind-set we’ve selectively grown our team, expanding it only with expert profiles and insightful, skilled backgrounds.” Interestingly this has led to a higher percentage of women in the team than is usual in the investment sector. Currently 60% of Capital Cell’s permanent employees are women, two thirds of whom hold PhDs in scientific disciplines. They truly are the leading force of the brand, working in areas of business development, legal and regulatory, marketing and project analysis. Here’s what 3 of our management level ladies are bringing to the brand:
Dr Laura Ferguson UK Director
An alumnus of both Oxford and Cambridge, with a PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Developmental Genetics, Laura is fascinated by the translation of life science innovation and so made the transition from academia into the world of business. Laura, who also happens to be a mother of three, is determined to open access to female entrepreneurs and investors through her role of building and managing professional relationships with fundraisers and investors in the UK market. She reflects, “It seems odd that European Equity Crowdfunding has seen as few as 17% female run businesses raising funds, and only 15% of crowd investors have been female.”
Dr Jo Slota-Newson UK Director of Operations
With a Cambridge BA and MSc in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Nanoscience, Jo’s entrepreneurial experience started some years ago in the role of CTO for the Cambridge-based startup Polysolar. “It’s disappointing that matters like race and gender are still issues in the workplace,” argues Jo, who is now in charge of overseeing Capital Cell’s daily operations in the UK. “At Capital Cell, we are hoping to empower talented female entrepreneurs, who traditionally have not received as much venture capital investment as their male counterparts.”
Dr Pilar Puig-Sàrries Head of the BioExpert Network
Having graduated with a PhD in Molecular Biology, during the last years in academia Pilar co-founded a start-up company and an NGO. Following the success of these ventures, she decided to continue in the entrepreneurship world and combine her two professional passions: startups and science. “There are amazing women out there. It’s time to ‘use’ that reservoir of talent,” says Pilar. She’s responsible for the growth and development of the BioExpert Network at Capital Cell. “I’m honestly still so surprised businesses have to publish articles like this. Good, fair practice should be the norm by now!”
Join us in celebrating all the great women in the world today.
Happy International Women’s Day 2017! #IWD0217