Manufacturing firms employ more women bosses

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Manufacturing Industry

Women are still under represented on the boards of manufacturing firms
Women are still under represented on the boards of manufacturing firms
Manufacturing businesses in the FTSE 100 have more women on their boards than other firms but more should be done to boost their numbers, according to a new report.

Women account for 19% of board positions in the 29 manufacturing businesses listed on the FTSE 100. That compares with an average of 17% for all firms on the FTSE 100, revealed the report ‘Women in Manufacturing’ – produced by the engineering employers’ organisation EEF and Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking and Cranfield School of Management.

In manufacturing businesses, women account for 23% of all non-executive directorships and 8% of executive directorships. The figures are slightly higher than average for all FTSE listed companies where women account for 22% of non-executive directorships and 6% of executive directorships.

The report also ranks firm’s achievement in recruiting women bosses, with drinks giant Diageo employing the second greatest percentage of women on its board at 36%. Top achiever was the clothing manufacturer Burberry Group with 38% of female directors.

‘Inspirational female role models’

Terry Scuoler, EEF ceo, said the report revealed the success women can have in modern manufacturing workplaces. “It shows in the top FTSE manufacturing companies women make up a greater percentage of board positions than other FTSE 100 firms,” ​he said. “It also highlights a number of inspirational female role models who have achieved significant success in our sectors.”

But Scuoler warned that significant challenges remained. ”Women are still under represented in manufacturing at most levels from those entering apprenticeships to those occupying positions at board level.” ​The reasons were complex and included: subject choices at school, careers advice, the profile of manufacturing and the fact that women bear a greater share of family responsibilities, he added.

More women should be encouraged to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics at an early stage, said Scuoler.

Angela Coleshill, director of employment, skills and corporate services at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said addressing the skills shortage was a top priority.

‘Great career of first choice’

“UK food and drink manufacturing is facing skills shortages in a number of critical areas, in particular the current shortage of qualified food scientists and engineers,”​ said Coleshill. “Through FDF’s careers campaign – ‘Taste Success – A Future in Food’ – we are working to show potential entrants that the food and drink manufacturing sector is a great ‘career of first choice’ for opportunity, reward and training.

“We have recently launched the first food and drink engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University and it would be fantastic if we could beat the national average of 10% of applicants for engineering being women. Recruiting more highly skilled women into the industry is an important part of the solution to getting more women into the boardroom.”

Vince Cable, secretary of state for Business, Innovation and Skills, wrote in the report foreword: “While progress is being made, it does show that we are still not fully tapping into the talent pool available in this country.”

He added: “The manufacturing industry has the potential to follow the huge progress made following our broader initiatives to increase the number of women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies.

“One of the reasons this has gained so much traction among the business community, media commentators and the public was the arguments behind it were never simply about gender equality. There has been a clear and compelling business case behind it.”

Meanwhile, for all the latest top management roles in food and drink manufacturing plus other roles, visit Foodmanjobs​.


Business women — in numbers

  • 17.3 – Percentage of women in FTSE 100 companies
  • 12 – Percentage of women in FTSE 250 boards
  • 13 – Number of manufacturing directorships secured by women (out of 36) in the year to January 2013
  • 25 – Percentage of female representation on FTSE 100 firms’ boards by 2015, recommended on the Women on Boards report 2011.


Source: Women in Manufacturing report

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