March 18, 2013 12:01 am

More women in manufacturing reach top

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Manufacturing companies in the FTSE 100 have more women on their boards than other companies, but industry still faces a severe shortage of female engineers, research has found.

GlaxoSmithKline tops the list of manufacturers for the number of female directors with five, making up 33 per cent of its board, ahead of Diageo with four. Burberry has the highest proportion, with 38 per cent women.

Women on average make up 19 per cent of board positions in the 29 manufacturing companies in the FTSE 100, slightly above the 17 per cent average for the index.

The report was published by the EEF manufacturers’ organisation, in partnership with Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking and Cranfield School of Management.

It warned that the UK faces a big problem increasing the number of women in senior industrial posts unless action is taken to raise the number of female engineers.

Just 6 per cent of British engineers are women, up one percentage point since 2008, the report found. That compares with 26 per cent in Sweden, 20 per cent in Italy and 18 per cent in Spain.

The EEF said factors behind the disparity included failure to encourage enough young women to study science-related topics, which has left half of UK state schools having no women studying A-level physics.

It called for a national campaign to increase the number of women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics to professional level, as well as to promote apprenticeships and other vocational routes into work.

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