There is increasing diversity of employment within the most senior positions of UK companies, new research has revealed, with women now making up a greater proportion of appointments.

A study carried out by Pearfinders, the results of which were published this week by the Daily Telegraph, found that the number of women in chief executive and managing director posts in the UK has increased from 11.6 per cent last year to 14.5 per cent in 2012 – a rise of 25 per cent.

Furthermore, there has also been a small rise in the number of women in second-level senior roles, such as director, chief finance officer and chief marketing officer, the data revealed.

According to Anthony Cooper, managing director of Pearfinders, the figures, which were based on interviews with over 13,000 senior managers in the first halves of 2011 and 2012, show there has been a “noticeable improvement” in the number of women at the top in the UK.

However, he told the newspaper: “The numbers are still very small, and we expect them to continue to rise over the next few years, following pressure from government and industry.”

Meanwhile, Monday (October 1st) saw the Financial Reporting Council introduce amendments to the UK Corporate Governance Code which will require companies to include in their annual reports “a description of the board’s policy on diversity, including gender, any measurable objectives that it has set for implementing the policy and progress on achieving the objectives”.

The change is one of the proposals made by last year’s Women on Boards report from Lord Davies and is designed to put pressure on UK firms to increase diversity at boardroom level.

According to the latest official figures, women currently make up 16.7 per cent of all board posts at FTSE 100 firms, up from 12.5 per cent a year ago.