Women-led small to medium businesses contribute around £85 billion to the economic output every year, in the UK.

To find out all about the role that women play in the world of business, Moneypenny, the outsourced communications provider, analysed business statistics from the House of Commons.

The data revealed an interesting insight into the impact that women have on the industry.

Analysing the data further showed that in 2019, 15% of small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) were led by women.

A further 24% were ‘equally led’, meaning the management team had an even split between women in and men.

Not all women in business dreamed of running a big team though. In fact, the data showed that 23% of SMEs with no employees are led by women, which is higher than the percentage of women led SMEs with employees.

The proportion of women on FTSE100 boards has been increasing steadily since the late 1990s.

In June 2019, 34.5% of FTSE100 directorships were occupied by women, and 31.9% FTSE250 directorships were held by women. There are now also zero all-male boards in the FTSE100.

This is down from 21 in 2011, and the same trend can be seen elsewhere. The number of all male boards in the FTSE250 has gone down from 152 to one since 2011.


How does the UK compare to the rest of the world?


Looking at the ‘total early stage entrepreneurial activity’ (TEA) within the House of Commons data, the TEA rate in the UK showed that for men was 11.7% and 7% for women, making the TEA gap 4.7 percentage points.


This means that the UK ranks out 24 of the 50 other countries that were studied. This shows that the UK is not performing as well as other countries such as Germany who had a 3.3% gap and the US with just a 1.7% gap.


Commenting on female progress in the business world, Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny said: “As a business that was founded by a sister and brother team and with 1,000 employees who are largely women, we are not surprised to see that gender is no barrier to business success and it is hugely encouraging that there are more women on the boards of successful corporations and more women launching their own businesses. It will definitely be interesting to see the proportion of women in power over the coming years.”

Joanna continues: “However, more needs to be done to ensure an increasing proportion of women in senior positions in certain traditionally male-dominated industries. Businesses in these sectors need to make sure they welcome and encourage female career progression, but equally women need to be encouraged to enter these industries in the first place and to feel that there is a clear career path for them.”