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Diversity in the Boardroom

Research Reports

Diversity in the Boardroom 2017 presents the key findings from an IoD member survey we conducted in May, 2017. The survey of more than 300 members explores the views of directors and senior executives and how they operate in respect of board diversity. Our sincere thanks to our members who undertook the survey on which this report is based.

Key findings

  • 67% of directors knew up to three or more people on the board before joining.
  • Men are almost three times more likely than women to be appointed to boards through a direct approach.
  • Just 6% of respondents do not have a third-level qualification.
  • 63% of women say unconscious bias is the main barrier to accessing the boardroom.
  • 44% of male respondents say that there is lower female representation on boards due to an insufficient pool of suitably qualified women.
  • Over a quarter of boards have less than 10% female membership.
  • When recruiting new members to the board, 44% of respondents say that consideration of race and 44% say that consideration of ethnicity are just slightly or not at all important.
  • 79% say that the skillset and experience of their board has changed over the past five years.
  • 51% say that they have been in their current role on the board for five or more years.
  • 78% somewhat agree or strongly agree that their board is committed to supporting a culture of inclusion.
  • 69% of directors say their board lacks cyber-risk expertise.
  • Majority of directors agree that diversity improves board effectiveness and company performance but diversity policies and rotation systems not in place.