By Max Clarke

Proposals endorsed by the Financial Reporting Council to get more women into boardrooms have today received the blessing of the Confederation of British Industry.

The UK’s largest business group reiterated its call for the code to be revised to require listed companies to report on diversity on a “comply or explain” basis.

This approach would allow firms to set their own targets for increasing diversity that reflect the nature of their business and circumstances and explain why if they fail to deliver. In practice, that would mean a company employing a large number of female staff may choose to set a higher target, but the same target may not be realistic for a firm with fewer women employees.

“The best way to get more women on boards is by giving companies the flexibility to set targets that reflect the realities of their businesses,” commented Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director.

“The voluntary approach is working with the number of female boardroom appointments steadily increasing since the beginning year, but we need to keep up the momentum.”

In its response to the FRC consultation, the CBI highlights the strong business case for increasing boardroom diversity, including: promoting good governance and challenging group mentality; helping companies get the best people for the job by using the most diverse selection pool and providing a better reflection of a firm’s customer base.

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