The Franco British Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1873 and with a membership network of over 700 companies, the Chamber’s objective is to lead the Franco-British business community in France.
World Women in Real Estate
WWIRE is a community that encourages world women in real estate to help each other and create an impact
An innovative consulting firm specialized on leadership and organisational effectiveness to increase gender diversity and professional equality.
The three of them compiled a White Paper based on workgroup studies and interviews: “Executive Women in Real Estate: A frame work for improvement”
The whole document can be downloaded from the FBCCI site.
They considered interesting to position these findings among more general statistical studies on Women in business with a French and British perspective.
Within the White Paper, Cranfield University Business School data and comments on women on Boards in UK (*) were incorporated as well as a specially written text from the consulting firm Gouvernance & Structures.
For readers mainly interested by the UK / France comparison of the evolution of Women on the Boards of large samples of quoted companies, this text has been extracted from the White Paper and reproduced in the following pages.
The results of this study may be summarized:
Two different approaches, positive results for both
Great progress towards equality in the workplace has been made by both Britain and France over the past few years. With very different approaches, France and UK companies can proudly show, that on average, they have increased their percentage of women on boards. The differences we see point to the fact that large corporations are ahead of the game but that “Mid-sized caps”, the French PME and British SME, have a long
way to go to achieve the type of equality we would like to see.
Since 2008, Guy Le Péchon, Partner and CEO of the Corporate Governance consulting firm “Gouvernance & Structures” (G & S ), has performed parity research on Euronext Paris quoted companies.
Here are some of his findings:
- Today the active promotion of women at high levels of business responsibilities, especially within the Boards, comes from two complementary global views:
“Women and men, similarly qualified, should be offered equal opportunities”
- More women at top positions lead to better business results.
Prior to 2008, various international studies have shown that progression to reach more parity within boards was very slow. To accelerate the process, countries started to be much more proactive in setting goals and targets. Each country has followed a different path depending on its basic cultural environment.
Spain, (without strict quotas), and Norway (with very strict ones), have been leading the “hard law” way followed by France. The January 2011 French law set ambitious objectives for Euronext quoted companies: 20 % of board positions should be occupied by women by 2014 and 40% by 2017. This 40 % target for 2017 also applies to the Sociétés Anonymes with at least 500 employees and annual revenues or total balance sheet assets of more than 50 Millions euros. Today, UK quoted companies are moving towards a voluntary goal set by Lord Davies to reach the 25 % of board positions held by women by 2015.
Two studies have performed deep annual statistical studies of the progress, Cranfield University School of Management (CMS) for UK FTSE 100 and 250 and Gouvernance & Structures (G & S) for Euronext Paris Big Caps and Mid + Small caps. For references, please refer to the end of this section.
G & S thought it could be quite interesting to position on the same graphs the 2012, 2013, and 2014 figures extracted from the above studies for the French Euronext quoted companies and for the UK FTSE ones in regards to Lord Davies’ 25% objective . The calendar dates of observation are roughly the same (October for UK, end of June for France).
To specifically enrich this “Women in Real Estate” report, we have broken out French Euronext quoted companies working within the Real Estate domain.
The table below shows the results of 52 such companies among the whole sample (418 companies)
The above figures are similar to those of the overall aggregate sample (not presented here).
One positive difference: Real Estate companies are ahead with a % of companies below the 25% target which is lower (roughly 10 % ) than that of the companies in the overall sample.
The graphs below illustrate the importance of the UK and French companies’ respective efforts to be accomplished to reach the set goals.
AVERAGE % OF BOARD POSITIONS OCCUPIED BY WOMEN/TOTAL BOARD POSITIONS
The average % growths are positive and similar (FTSE 100 accelerating) for all the companies. The UK average % growth is lower since they started the target later.
But one must recognise that the targets are not set for average % of groups of companies, but for each individual company.
The average %’s can be misleading, since the high figures of the leading companies compensate for the low ones of the laggard companies.
Boards with no women on them at all, and those which have not yet reached the 25 % target, are studied below.
% OF COMPANIES WITH NO WOMEN ON BOARDS/COMPANIES TOTAL
French Big Caps all have at least one woman sitting on the board.
The UK FTSE 100 companies’ position is similar. Mid and Small French Caps have a few challenges.
But one can see the dramatic effort needed by the UK FTSE 250 companies with still 20 % of them with no woman on their boards.
% OF COMPANIES WITH LESS THAN 25 % OF WOMEN ON BOARDS/COMPANIES TOTAL
Today the French Big caps and Mid + Small are performing well with respectively less than 30 % and 40 % of them failing to reach the 25 % target.
The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies have obviously progressed.
But a large number of companies (61 for FTSE) (186 for the FTSE 250) in September 2014 have not yet reach the 25% target. The year 2015 has already started.
Within the next two years, the FTSE 100 and 250 boards will have to focus on a strong female recruitment process.
% OF FRENCH COMPANIES WITH LESS THAN 40 % OF WOMEN ON BOARDS/COMPANIES TOTAL
Although one cannot compare with the UK, it is interesting to show that for the French listed companies, to reach the French objective of 40 % in 2017, the number of women to be recruited is high There is a possibility that only by reducing the total number of seats per Board can these targets be met.
If the French Euronext companies had to follow the 25 % target set for in 2015 UK, they would succeed, with a little more difficulty for the Mid and Small Caps. For the UK, this target is very ambitious since every company has to reach it within the next 10 months. For UK, Assuming the 25 % are reached, considering it is still far from parity, the next question will be: what is the next step?
(*) Source: Vinnicombe, Doldor and Turner, Female FTSE Report 2014, Cranfield University School of Management