The gender composition of boards in Ireland has passed the 30% female representation level, a 7% increase since 2017. 

New research conducted by EY shows that the average gender composition of boards now comprises 31% women and 69% men.

But in spite of the increase, just 35% of companies say their organisation has taken appropriate measures to address the causes of any gender pay gap.

Within that group, 38% still say that men are more likely to be promoted in their organisation.

Just 16% of organisations surveyed said they measure the impact of Diversity and Inclusion on their company's performance, including sales revenue and profitability.

And 67% of organisations said they needed more support from their senior leadership to significantly advance Diversity and Inclusion at their companies. 

Olivia McEvoy, Director of Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Service at EY Ireland said it is encouraging to see that progress is being made on boards.

But she added that "the lived experience for women in work can be a different matter, highlighted by the fact that even within the seemingly more progressive organisations, it is perceived the men are still more likely to be promoted. 

She said that more focus is needed on building up the next generation of leaders, and measuring the experience of different groups around promotion, reward and other factors. 

"Diversity in all its forms is fluid, and is not something that can be "achieved" and forgotten about. 

"It will continue to evolve in rhythm with employment cycles, so carefully-planned strategies backed by leadership are essential for sustained improvement," Ms McEvoy added.