Old boys' network still keeping women out of the boardroom, report claims

Women are still being held back from senior posts due to an 'old boys' network', according to a new report.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found three out of five firms in the FTSE 350 were failing to meet a target of 25% female representation on company boards.

And fewer than half increased female board representation in recent years.

A third of companies relied on the personal networks of current board members to find new candidates, so the old boys' network was still being widely used, the report said.

The diversity of candidates was also being limited by virtually no open advertising of board positions, said the Commission.

Three out of four FTSE 100 companies have no women in top positions. Credit: PA

Progress had been made at top firms to reach the target set by Lord Davies last year but the Commission said there was "inexcusable and unacceptable" variation within companies.

The position was worse for executive posts, with almost three out of four FTSE 100 companies and 90% of FTSE 250 firms having no women in top roles.

Laura Carstensen, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner, said top boards still remain "blatantly male and white" with "inexcusable" discrepancies between companies.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the figures made for "depressing reading".