A review of the SVCC and a further independent review in February 2014, has resulted in the development of an Enhanced Voluntary Code of Conduct ("EVCC"), created by executive search firms themselves, in order to raise the standards of professionalism and conduct in the recruitment of women to the boards of FTSE 350 companies. The new EVCC gives recognition to those firms who have been most successful in appointing women to FTSE boards.
Although voluntary, it is hoped that executive search firms will show their commitment to gender diversity by embracing the more rigid requirements of the EVCC. To encourage this, firms can gain accreditation under the EVCC by demonstrating to the Davies Steering Group (who has responsibility for determining which firms are deemed to have met the criteria) that they have, amongst other things:-
- supported the appointment of at least 4 women to the boards of FTSE 350 companies over the last year;
- achieved a proportion of at least 33% female appointments in their FTSE 350 board work (across both Executive and Non-Executive Director roles);
- a proven record of helping women to achieve their first FTSE 350 board appointment;
- visibly signalled their commitment to supporting gender diversity clearly on their websites, in marketing literature and in discussions with clients and candidates;
- published relevant summary data on their track record and case studies on their website as appropriate.
- provided internal training and awareness programmes to share and embed best practices within their firms and to ensure that full adherence to the Code is effectively monitored.
The accreditation criteria is re-assessed annually.
The launch of the EVCC is the latest milestone in a bid to meet the target of 25% women on FTSE 100 boards by 2015. Whilst it is widely considered to be a step in the right direction in terms of achieving gender equality in boardrooms, it is unlikely that the EVCC is the final chapter in this story with an update expected from the Davis Steering Group in September 2014.
We will keep you updated.