Women on boards: supply or demand?

06 July 2012

Headhunters and business executives will face questions on gender diversity next week when the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee looking at the case for EU action to increase the number of women on company boards takes evidence as part of its inquiry.

On Monday 9 July, the Committee will ask business professionals whether there is there a business case for increasing gender diversity on company boards and why current representation of women on boards is so low. Questions will also cover areas such as the support or preparation that women need for board appointments and the likelihood of the UK reaching the 40% target set by the European Commission without quotas.

Representatives from executive search firms will then be asked if quotas for gender diversity on boards would make it more difficult to find the right candidates for a job, or result in less effective candidates being chosen. The Committee will also ask if the fact that some countries are signed up to quotas of women on boards affect recruitment patterns across Europe and what impact their voluntary code has had on practice in the industry.

At 4.05pm, the Committee will hear from:

  • Neil Carberry, Director for Employment and Skills at the Confederation of British Industry;
  • Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of BT Group, Chairman of EasyJet and Deputy Chairman of Barclays Bank; and
  • Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors.

Immediately following, at 5.00pm, the Committee will question:

  • Lesley Brook, Director of Brook Graham;
  • Will Dawkins, Head of Board Services, Spenser Stuart;
  • Kate Grussing, Founder and Managing Director of Sapphire Partners; and
  • Michael Reyner, Partner at MWM Consulting.

The evidence session will take place on Monday 9 July at 4.05pm in Committee Room 2 and will be webcast live at www.parliamentlive.tv.

The evidence session is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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