womensboardFigures from the Professional Boards Forum have revealed that the rate of female appointments to FTSE 100 boards has slowed significantly this year, with only 12% of posts being appointed to women in the two months to May.

The figure of 12% is a huge decrease from the 50% seen only a year ago, and the overall proportion of FTSE 100 women directors has remained static at 17.4%, which it has been since August 2012.

It was also revealed that five companies still have all-male boards and commenting on the findings, Lyndsey Oliver, co-founder of gender balance consultancy, Female Quotient, said:

“The figures are disappointing. While the benefits are proven, it seems we have some way to go to change mind-sets.

“Boards have to look beyond the safety of the old corporate stereotypes and consider more creative appointments. It is too easy to stick with established patterns of behaviour and simply look for candidates to fit the current mold.”

She added:

“It’s tough to take a perceived risk, but risk has its rewards. The charity sector is one example where bold appointments have been made, recruiting outside of traditional backgrounds – and to great effect.”

Despite these disappointing figures, the results showed that for FTSE 250 companies, 40% of all board appointments in the three months to May were female.

The figures also revealed there are now 25% of companies with all-male boards, down from 52% in the previous three months.

Commenting on the prospect of introducing quotas to solve the problem, Oliver said:

“Despite the disappointing figures, quotas are still not the answer. Instead, developing the talent pipeline will be key to not only hitting targets, but also more importantly sustaining these achievements.

“Hitting any target means nothing unless there is systemic and pervasive change at all levels. Diversity and inclusiveness must be embedded in every part of talent management and cultural change always starts from the top. If organisations start with inclusiveness, diversity will naturally follow.”