The IoD, in its role as a voice for business, is often of the opinion that there would be a great deal to gain from Government trying to emulate business.
We call on Government to replicate the dynamism, efficiency and success of our members. On the subject of diversity in senior management, however, I believe that business can now look to Government for inspiration.
We have a female Prime Minister, a female First Minister in Scotland and a female Presiding Office in the National Assembly in Wales. The UK also has its first female Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, The Rt Hon. Elizabeth Truss MP. If the US election goes as predicted then we will soon have the first female President of the United States of America. This time next year, whether I use my US or UK passport, there will likely be a woman at the helm of my country.
How then can it be that there are only five female CEO’s of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies? There is an often repeated statistic that there are more CEO’s called ‘John’ than female CEO’s in the FTSE. This should be a cause for embarrassment and concern. It is not as if women are not up to the task, they are running, or will soon be running, some of the largest economies in the world. So why is it that women are rising to the top in government, but not in business? Exploring the issues and causes of this, is part of the mission of the Hampton-Alexander Review. I am fortunate to sit on its advisory panel and I hope to be able to contribute to pushing business to follow the example of politics.
Another place that British business could look to for inspiration when it comes to diversity, is the IoD’s own IoD99. IoD 99 brings young talent together in one community to create strong peer networks and to offer access to professional guidance for transforming start-ups into scale-ups.
Approximately 40% of IoD99 members are women, reflecting the huge amount of female talent in the start-up community. IoD99 continues to go from strength to strength with over 1,000 now in the network. Earlier this month they held an event with the United Nations to celebrate International Youth day and, in addition over the next two months there are 10 events for the IoD99 taking place across the UK.
Become an IoD99 member
The IoD Annual Convention 2016
Finally, I hope that many of you are planning to attend the IoD Annual Convention on September 27th at the Royal Albert Hall. It promises to be an excellent and insightful day. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend having a look at our impressive speaker line-up, which importantly has almost as many women as men. The changes I have been stressing for are already happening, and I look forward to seeing you there.
IoD Annual Convention speaker line-up