The UK's top manufacturers now have at least one female director on their boards, but the sector needs to tackle its "dirty and unglamorous" image to attract talent.

According to research by Lloyds Bank and the manufacturers' organisation EFF, women account for 21% of total directorships in FTSE 100 manufacturing companies – up from 19% last year.

This means women hold 64 out of 305 manufacturing board seats – an improvement on last year when they held 59 out of 309 seats.

The report revealed that more than a third (36%) of FTSE 100 manufacturing companies were at, or above, the 25% target for female board representation set out within Lord Davies' Women on Boards Report.

"The message from this report is clear - manufacturers are heading in the right direction, but cannot afford to let up," said Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF.

"We are matching other industries for female board representation, but there is no room for complacency.

"If our sector is to continue to thrive we need to be fishing from the entire talent pool and that means ensuring women have the right skills and opportunities and are represented at every level."

The study also found that the percentage of non-executive (NED) roles going to women has grown from 23% last year to 25% in 2014, while executive (ED) roles remain static at 8%. Just under one in 10 female board members (9%) are EDs, compared to one in three (29%) amongst their male peers.

But while the sector has made some great strides in female board representation, the EFF warned it must do more to tackle its "dirty and unglamorous" image and to nurture talent from classroom to boardroom.