Women executives: beyond the apprentice

Sir Alan Sugar may have selected 26-year old Michelle Dewberry to be his new apprentice, yet female executives are still struggling to make an impact within UK-listed companies according to new research from GrowthBusiness.co.uk.

London’s AIM market has a burgeoning reputation for dynamism. However, in its survey of every company listed on this market, GrowthBusiness has discovered that only 201 of AIM’s 1,512 member firms have either a female executive director or chairman on their board. Excluding the latter role, just 12.7 per cent of AIM firms employ a female executive director, a figure that narrowly pips the 11 per cent of FTSE 100 companies who can claim the same.

Marine aquarium operator Deep-Sea Leisure and corporate career services group Fairplace Consulting lead the way, with three women holding senior board positions. In the case of the former these are chairman Angel Barrachina, finance director Sue Howarth and director Brenda Johnston. Fairplace’s triumvirate consists of finance director Claire Hanson and executive directors Andrea Eccles and Linda Jackson.

Deep-Sea and Fairplace are the only two AIM firms at which three women hold senior board positions. A further 20 companies currently employ two females execs, with the remaining 180 companies having just one women on their top team. Overall, there are currently 224 senior female directors on AIM out of around 6,000 directors.

See also: Top 9 women founders leading the UK’s high-growth UK scale-ups

In terms of position filled, the role of finance director occurs most regularly. Some 75 women currently fulfil this role on AIM, a staggering 33.5 per cent of the market’s female directors. A further 44 women are employed under the generic title of director, while AIM boasts 22 female chief execs (including two joint-CEOs), 18 managing directors (including four joint-MDs) and 12 chairpersons.

Within sectors, financial and investment businesses assume poll position, employing some 26 female executives in total – among them Carole Wright, finance director of technology transfers business UTEK. Other sectors with strong female representation include media (22), software and computer services (19) and support services (18).

Gender inequality is more pronounced in sectors like telecoms (3), oil & gas (5) and construction (2), however, even though both women in the latter market command the role of chief executive.

Leslie Copeland

Leslie Copeland

Leslie was made Editor for Growth Company Investor magazine in 2000, then headed up the launch of Business XL magazine, and then became Editorial Director in 2007 for the online and print publication portfolio...

Related Topics

Early Stage Funding