04 Apr 2023
8 min read

Women at the Executive Level: Our Gender Diversity Expectations

Amid evidence that companies with better gender representation see better financial performance, we’re using our voice by voting against companies with all-male executive teams. LGIM has been pushing for better gender diversity across all organizational levels in our investee companies for over a decade. This issue remains a priority for us, and we are gradually escalating our voting decisions in line with market expectations.

Business woman looking out of office windows

The business case for gender representation

A recent assessment of demographic workforce data (the EEO-1 report) across US companies affirmed a positive association between diverse representation at management level and positive financial performance.1 The EEO-1 assessment also finds that, within the financial sector, the gap between overall female representation in the workforce and female representation in management has a negative performance association.1

This is one of the many studies that show higher levels of diversity throughout an organization is linked to higher performance in terms of both profitability and long-term value creation.2,3 Beyond the studies, the strategic rationale for diverse executive teams is straightforward; there is greater potential to attract top talent, broaden the customer base and limit groupthink.

In 2022, LGIM implemented a new voting policy around gender diversity on the executive team. Historically, we have focused on diversity at the board level, but we decided to expand this focus as diversity at the executive and strategic decision-making level is imperative.

LGIM’s policy

Our policy states that starting in 2022, we will vote against FTSE 100 and S&P 500 companies that have all-male executive teams. In 2022, we voted against 70 companies within these indices on these grounds.

Where we’re going

As we approach the 2023 AGM season, we currently expect to vote against 79 companies for having all-male executive teams. When comparing the 2023 list of votes against to the 2022 list, there are 49 companies of overlap. Of those 49 laggards, 45 are within the S&P 500, with only four in the FTSE 100. Of the 30 new laggards in 2023, 16 are listed on the S&P 500 and 14 are listed on the FTSE 100.

This illustrates that much more change is needed to improve gender diversity levels of these all-important decision-making teams. We will continue to explore how we can make a greater impact on this issue going forward, but our voting stance will continue into 2023 and beyond.

How we measure gender diversity

Refinitiv is our data provider for assessed metrics on gender diversity. Within LGIM’s proprietary ESG score, we assess companies on four gender-related metrics: women on the board, women at the executive level, women in management and women in workforce. While we consider 30% gender diversity as a minimum standard across all four indicators, our voting policy is set at one woman for the executive level so that we vote against the biggest laggards within relevant indices.

The data point of ‘women at the executive level’ assesses executive officers of the company listed in the most recent public filings like annual reports and proxy statements.

What’s next

We are collaborating on the issue of gender diversity at the executive level starting in 2023 through the 30% Club UK investor Group. This emphasizes the importance of this topic in that other stakeholders also view this as a priority. We also plan to engage with laggards in the UK and US markets in the future, given that well over half of the companies receiving votes against were also sanctioned last year. Finally, pre-declaring our votes is a tool we can use and that we will consider for the future to continue to drive change.


  1. Workplace Diversity and Financial Performance: An Analysis of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO-1) Data — As You Sow. https://www.asyousow.org/reports/workplace-diversity-and-financial-performance
  2. Delivering growth through diversity in the workplace | McKinsey. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity
  3. WTW research shows diverse investment teams outperform – WTW. https://www.wtwco.com/en-CA/news/2023/03/wtw-research-shows-diverse-investment-teams-outperform


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