One of the recommendations coming from that Review was that recruitment agencies recruiting for FTSE 350 board level appointments should draw up a Voluntary Code of Conduct addressing gender diversity and best practice. Subsequently, the industry implemented a Voluntary Code containing seven key principles including:
- a requirement that long lists for executive appointments should be made up of at least 30% female candidates (or, if not, an explanation why the agency could not identify other suitable female candidates and the steps taken to identify such candidates);
- for each appointment, reviewing the Board's composition and the organisation's agreed aspirational goals on gender balance to consider whether appointing a female director was a priority; and
- ensuring that certain kinds of experience are not over-valued.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has this week announced a review to consider the efficacy of the Voluntary Code, including whether women have accounted for 30% of long list candidates. The report on the Voluntary Code is expected to be produced in December 2013. Vince Cable has in the past threatened quotas to ensure increased female representation at Executive level so if the report on the Voluntary Code is unfavourable, we can expect more rigid measures to follow.