Women account for less than a third of FTSE 100 CIOs


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

When analysing data from several sources, Frank Recruitment Group found women account for only 27% of CIO positions in the FTSE in 2022, with Frank Recruitment Group calling the increase over the past five years a “drop in the ocean”.

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

She said: “These conversations have led to more efforts focused on increasing representation and visibility. But while awareness is a key ingredient when it comes to preparing for change, progress has remained slow by more tangible metrics. Looking at female tech leaders at FTSE 100 companies, some of the biggest and most influential businesses, women made up less than a third of CIOs last year.

“Numerically, this added up to just 10 more women in those roles than there had been in 2018. It’s a similar picture if you look at the Fortune 500, which we’ve also done. Reaching gender equality isn’t something we can achieve with discussion alone – it’s going to require intentional, sustained and practical action.”

The lack of diversity in UK technology is not a new topic, and despite efforts made to shift the dial, the number of women in tech positions in the UK hasn’t changed much in the past five years.

BCS research in 2020 found that women only accounted for 17% of IT specialists in the UK, and while women now make up 15% of digital leaderships positions, a growth of 2% year on year (YoY), the current pace of change would mean it will take until 2060 for gender participation in tech to reach 50-50.

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

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

When it comes to the top tech positions, over the past five years, 42 women in the FTSE 100 were in CIO positions at some point, versus 138 men – in 2022, that amounted to just 25 women, only 10 more than in 2018.

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

Women were also less likely than men to hold the position for an extended 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 is two years.

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

The lack of women in higher up roles, as well as the shorter than average tenure, could be down to many factors, but there are more barriers in the way of late career for women than there are for men. A recent government survey suggested around 75,000 people with STEM skills would like to return to work but are currently “economically inactive” and have been for at least a year due to care responsibilities, a majority of whom are women.

Mentorship, a more diverse hiring process, and support for current female employees to advance within the business were just some of the suggestions made by Frank Recruitment Group to help tackle the issue.


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