London, Wednesday 3 May 2023: At a panel discussion organised by the FTSE Women Leaders Review, the government-sponsored initiative focused on increasing women’s representation on boards and leadership teams, senior leaders from the engineering sector called for further advances in women in leadership in engineering to achieve greater gender balance at the top of the industry.
The event, which was held on Wednesday 26th April and hosted by Citigate Dewe Rogerson, brought together Nimesh Patel, Co-Chair of the FTSE Women Leaders Review and CFO of Spirax-Sarco Engineering, Dame Louise Makin, Chair of Halma and Clare Scherrer, CFO of Smiths Group, to share their views on the progress that has been made in increasing the number of women in leadership roles across engineering and the challenges that remain in delivering gender equality at the top table. The event is one of series of industry-focused panel discussions that the FTSE Women Leaders Review is staging to shine a light on the positive work that is underway in individual sectors and companies.
Sharing their observations, the speakers highlighted the significant progress that has been made over the last decade in reaching 40 per cent representation of women on FTSE 350 boards but reflected on the importance of achieving the same level of representation in leadership roles, particularly in industries like engineering which have typically been male-dominated.
Nimesh Patel, Co-Chair of the FTSE Women Leaders Review and CFO of Spirax-Sarco Engineering, said: “The best business leaders are building diverse teams with a wide range of perspectives necessary to solve the issues we face in an increasingly complex world. But more than that, they also understand that driving for gender equality is simply the right thing.
“When young people see more women leading businesses, it challenges stereotypes and ignites aspiration and self-belief. There is no shortage of capable women ready for an opportunity to lead business, both in our executive teams and in our Boardrooms. Our panel discussion demonstrates how the engineering sector is shaping its culture to both attract and retain them."
Dame Louise Makin, Chair of Halma, said:
“Building diverse and inclusive teams is not just the right thing to do – it drives performance. Diverse teams innovate better to solve problems as well as identifying opportunities that non-diverse teams might miss, which is good for the bottom line and for society as a whole.
“Having women in senior leadership positions helps challenge stereotypes, creates role models and fosters aspiration. It is good to see the progress made over the decade on company boards and in senior roles. There is more to do, but the women in leadership roles today will serve as an inspiration for other women to reach for the top.”
Clare Scherrer, CFO of Smiths Group, said:
“Our purpose at Smiths is to improve the world through smarter engineering. And we are more ambitious and capable of solving the world’s toughest problems when we have diverse skills, experiences, and leadership styles sitting at the table. To power up the engineering sector’s collective goal to advance women in leadership roles, we need to invest in and lean in to women who have potential to take on our top roles.
“We can only do this by systematically and thoughtfully acting to attract, develop and challenge, and retain women at all stages of their careers. From engineering graduate programmes to top leadership roles, if we all act to ensure every woman reaches her full potential, I believe we can collectively make progress that is sustainable.”
FTSE Women Leaders Review - 0777 180 7471
Spirax-Sarco Engineering – 0774 123 3091
Halma - 0776 937 1332
Smiths Group – 0778 741 5891
Notes to editors:
- The FTSE Women Leaders Review, which began in 2011 and was formerly known as the Hampton Alexander Review (and before that the Davies Review), is the government-sponsored, voluntary initiative focused on increasing women’s representation on Boards and Leadership Teams.
- The Co-Chairs of the FTSE Women Leaders Review are Penny James, Senior Independent Director at Hargreaves Lansdown, and Nimesh Patel, CFO of Spirax-Sarco Engineering.
- Every year the Review collects and reports on the gender leadership data for the FTSE 350 and, as of last year, also includes 50 of the UK’s largest private companies.
- The key objectives of the Review are to achieve 40% women’s representation on boards and leadership teams with a minimum of one woman in the Chair, Senior Independent Director role on the Board and/or one woman in the Chief Executive Officer or Finance Director role by the end of 2025.
- In February this year, the FTSE Women Leaders Review announced that the target of achieving 40% representation of women on FTSE 350 Boards by 2025 had been met three years ahead of deadline.
- For further information: website https://ftsewomenleaders.com.
- The data relating to the industrial goods and services sector in the latest FTSE Women Leaders Report can be found in Appendix E on pages 75 and 76.