Executive search firms have agreed a code to place the "responsibility for gender diversity back on chairmen," according to The Grapevine Online.
Drawn up by 20 leading head hunters, the code comprises seven "key principles to promote best practice for executive search firms."
One such principal is producing lists that contain at least 30 per cent of female candidates for board positions, those searching for interim management vacancies may be interested to learn. Under the premise of best practice, the decision on who to appoint will be passed back to individual CEOs, using the fairer lists.
The code has been suggested as a way to improve diversity in the boardroom, writes The Guardian, which was highlighted in Lord Davies' review earlier this year of 'Women on Boards'.
While voluntary, says the code's creators, head hunters who do not comply will be "conspicuous by their absence."
Motivation for the code was to emphasise the unique position that executive search firms hold in being able to promote gender diversity.
It claims: "Search firms are committed to help their clients increase the effectiveness of their boards and acknowledge the value that diversity can bring; they readily acknowledge the important role that their profession needs to play... to increase the proportion of women on boards, in both executive and non-executive roles."
Commenting on the guidelines, Michael Reyner, member of the drafting group said: "The group of people who drew up the code would like to think that they were already adopting a number of things consistent with the spirit of the Davies report.
"We haven't yet spoken to anyone who has declined to sign it, but I'd be disappointed if most people didn't."