Women still failing to reach the top

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A report by accounting firm Deloitte says only 3% of executive directors and 8% of non-executives are female and suggests that promoting more women into the most senior echelons of UK business may have slipped down the agenda of big public companies.

The report said companies have been focusing on changes to board structure and composition which will ensure that they comply with the Higgs recommendations and the new combined code.

The report also found that the Higgs report, which stressed the need for truly independent directors, has prompted companies to be more rigorous and less predictable in their boardroom recruitment procedures.

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