If women continue to fail to making it to board level, companies and customers could potentially loose out on innovative ideas and skills.

Theresa May, home secretary and minister for women and equality, said employers miss out on a huge range of insights and experiences if they fail to draw their senior staff from the widest pool possible, and promised to work with the private sector to improve the situation.

At present just 12.2% of FTSE 100 directors are women, and a quarter of FTSE 100 companies do not have a single woman on their boards.

May said: “In these challenging economic times we need to make the most of everyone’s talents and more balanced corporate boards are better for everyone – employers, employees and customers.

“By becoming more representative at all levels, companies can become more innovative and more productive and have a better understanding of what all their customers want and need.

“We’re taking action to help make this happen, with commitments to promote equal pay, extend the right to flexible working and promote a new system of flexible parental leave.

“But we’re not going to achieve change on our own, which is why we’re sitting down with business leaders to understand what works for them. I also want to hear from the companies that are already doing well in this area, so we can all understand how they attracted more women to senior roles without compromising on quality.

“The best person should always be the one who gets the job. If we’re going to make sure this happens, we need to work together to break down the barriers that keep women out of the boardroom.”

Many agree with May’s view, one source said ‘variation is important in any organisation and should are made up of people from all different walks of life, to enable growth and innovative thinking, it is especially important that at top levels, organisations should have a mixture of people who make important decisions.