Better balanced boards: reactions from HEADWAY readers
'The better a board represents the real world, the better it is.'

'I don't see how gender influences the quality of a board.'

'Competence & relevance must be the only yardsticks.'

...So say some of the senior and middle managers contributing to AHEAD’s latest survey on Better Balanced Boards1. This makes interesting reading and generated many and varied comments:

  • 69% of the 158 respondents agreed that company boards should have a better gender balance, whether executive or non-executive (16% disagreed, and 15% were not sure).
  • 90% of women taking part were in favour, compared to  53% of men. Senior women were the most enthusiastic group, and male middle managers the least.
  • The majority of respondents (65%) preferred voluntary initiatives to achieve better balanced boards, with only 16% advocating mandatory methods like quotas.
  • Of all those preferring a voluntary approach, more investment in training and development was the preferred means (32%), ahead of more flexible working (26%) and positive discrimination (20%).
  • However a clear majority of all those favouring voluntary initiatives felt that positive discrimination would be the least effective voluntary method they knew.

For a more comprehensive overview of results and extensive comments please click here: Final Survey Results

1 In late January 2013, AHEAD conducted a short e-survey among a sample of senior and middle management contacts. The 158 contributors comprised 57% men, 43% women; 64% senior and 31% middle management. The group included professionals of several European nationalities: Belgian, French, Italian, Dutch, German, British, Romanian, Irish, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Polish and Bulgarian.