Women account for less than a third of FTSE 100 CIOs

The number of women in CIO positions in FTSE 100 companies will reach 25 in 2022, only 10 more than in 2018, according to research by Frank Recruitment Group.

When analyzing data from multiple sources, Frank Recruitment Group found women account for just 27% of CIO positions in the FTSE by 2022, with Frank Recruitment Group calling for an increase in last five years which is a “drop in the ocean”.

Zoë Morris, president of Frank Recruitment Group, admits that while awareness of the importance of diversity is growing, there is still a long way to go.

He said: “These conversations have led to additional efforts focused on increasing representation and visibility. But while awareness is an important ingredient when it comes to preparing for change, the -progress remains slow by more tangible metrics. Looking at women technology leaders in FTSE 100 companies, some of the biggest and most influential businesses, women comprise the less than a third of CIOs last year.

“In terms of numbers, it added only 10 more women in those roles than in 2018. It’s a similar picture if you look at the Fortune 500, which we also did. Achieving gender equality is not something we can achieve with talk alone – it requires deliberate, sustained and practical action.

The lack of diversity in tech in the UK is not a new topic, and despite efforts being made to turn the dial, the number of women in tech positions in the UK has not changed much over the past five year.

BCS research in 2020 found that women only account for 17% of IT professionals in the UK, and while women now make up 15% of digital leadership positions, a growth of 2% per year (YoY), the current rate of change may mean that it will take until 2060 for gender participation in tech to reach 50-50.

Frank Recruitment Group found that across all UK professions, only 8% of UK women are in positions such as director, manager or senior officer, against 13% of men.

Breaking it down further, some of the data looked at by Frank Recruitment Group suggests an upward shift in the percentage of women in leadership positions at FTSE 100 companies, with women made up 15% of higher-level positions in 2012, rising to 34.5% in 2020.

When it comes to top tech positions, in the last five years, 42 women in the FTSE 100 have been in CIO positions at some point, compared to 138 men – in 2022, that will amount to only 25 among women, only 10 more in 2018.

For Fortune 500 companies, women make up 19% of people in the CIO position.

Women are also less likely than men to hold the position for a long period of time – the average time for a CIO to hold the role is three years for male CIOs, while the average duration for a female CIO two years.

When it comes to holding the CIO role longer, between 2018 and 2022 only four women will hold a CIO role for five years or more against 37 men.

The lack of women in higher roles, as well as shorter than average employment, can be due to many reasons, but there are more obstacles in the way of a later career for women than for men. A recent government survey suggests around 75,000 people with STEM skills want to return to work but are currently “economically inactive” for at least a year due to care responsibilities, most of them are women.

Mentorship, a more diverse hiring process, and support for current female employees to advance within the business are just a few of the proposals made by Frank Recruitment Group to help address the issue.

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