Why Women on Boards Does Not Equal Diversity

11/03/2014

Putting women on boards does not necessarily mean more women make it to the top of the executive tree, according to number crunching by New Financial, a London-based think tank.

It has collected data from 200 capital markets institutions, from hedge funds to exchanges and regulators across Europe to see how many women they employ at each level.

The figures will probably not surprise anyone working in the industry. While many companies have been able to find women to fill board seats in response to public pressure, their executive committees remain overwhelmingly male.

Investment bank boards, for example, are on average 22% female, but their executive committees are on average 8% female.

Regulatory bodies are  male-dominated, the figures show, but they generally have better female representation at executive level than the firms they supervise.

Trade bodies, central banks and pension funds top the table for executive committee gender mix; firms at the cutting edge of risk-taking fare much less well.

Alongside investment banking, private-equity and hedge funds are the most male dominated, with top management teams (they don’t have boards and executive committees as such) that are more than 90% male.