our latest report

Hidden Talent

Our 2023 report reveals the executive expertise listed company boards are lacking in a study of over 1,000 firms across the FTSE All-Share and AIM listings.

in partnership with Protiviti

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Our new research uncovers a very limited range of skills and expertise among executive board directors across over 1,000 companies in the FTSE All-Share and AIM listings, which calls into question the diversity of thought in the boardroom.

Just 2% of executive directors hold positions other than CEO, CFO and Company Secretary. There is a further concentration in that small minority on COO or CTO roles, focused on operational efficiency.

Fiona Hathorn, CEO and co-founder of Women on Boards says,

“The responsibilities of the board have continued to evolve over the past decade and yet the focus remains on traditional skill sets such as finance, operations and CEO experience. Skills such as social responsibility, human resources or marketing, show negligible presence in the boardroom.”

We also take a deep-dive into how boards are tackling People and Culture concerns.

Over 80% of our members surveyed believe it is a top-level or significant concern, but only 27% are directly engaging with executive experts at board level and 40% consider the quality of discussion on People and Culture in their boardroom to be weaker than on other topics. This suggests boards need to re-think how they tackle, what is, one of the most pressing issues facing organisations today.


In partnership withProtivit: global business consulting | Women on Boards partner logo

For all press enquiries, please contact: Melda Simon, Little Fires PR – melda@littlefires.co | +44 (0) 7740 584323

more progress needed

Gender on Boards

female executive directors in the FTSE All-Share
FTSE All-Share ex-350 missing key targets
all-male boards among AIM listed firms

The Hidden Talent report also monitors gender diversity on boards across the FTSE All-Share and AIM listed firms, in the largest study of its type. As the data above shows, there is still significant progress to be made.

Whilst gender diversity among non-executive directors has improved significantly in recent years, just 10% of executive directors are women in the FTSE All-Share.

The FTSE Women Leaders Review this year set key targets for boards to achieve representative gender diversity. This report reveals almost half the FTSE All-Share firms below the 350 are not meeting these goals (41%).

Gender diversity at board level in AIM listed firms is significantly behind the curve for many, with over 100 firms (18%) still having all-male boards in 2023.

previous reports

The Hidden Truth

The Hidden Truth (2022)

Board diversity in the FTSE All-Share ex-350

In partnership with global consulting firm Protiviti, our second Hidden Truth report monitors the gender and ethnic minority representation on FTSE All-Share boards – the 252 companies below the largest 350 companies (ex350). The report calls for ongoing and deeper scrutiny across listed companies to give a true picture of UK boardroom diversity.

The data reveals that while small gains have been made in the last 12 months, there is still a long way to go – with 50% of UK firms in FTSE All-Share ex350 have no women in C-Suite positions and 75% of boards having no director of colour.

The Hidden Truth (2021)

Diversity and Inclusion across the FTSE All-Share ex-350.

Our 2021 report created the most comprehensive picture ever of the state of diversity and inclusion across the entire FTSE All-Share. For the first time, it examines every FTSE All-Share company below the 350 (FTSE All-Share ex350) and brings together the Gender Pay Gap data across those FTSE All-Share companies, who are required to, or choose to, report.