Boardrooms ‘do not reflect the ethnic diversity of the UK’

Credit: #WOCinTech Chat

FTSE boardrooms ‘do not reflect the ethnic diversity of the UK’, according to new findings.

The Parker Review report, Beyond One by ’21, found that out of the 1,087 director positions in the FTSE 100, directors of colour hold only eight per cent of positions.

The report also revealed that of these directors of colour, only 1.5 per cent were UK citizens, despite the fact that 14 per cent of the total UK population is from a non-white ethnic group.

The research also estimated that the UK will be the most diverse country in Western Europe by 2051, with over 30 per cent of the population expected to be comprised of people from ethnic minority or migrant backgrounds.

The report has also put forward a number of recommendations to better prepare UK companies for the long-term and help them to continue their standing as global leaders.

The recommendations include that each FTSE 100 board should have at least one director of colour by 2021, and each FTSE 250 board by 2024. Existing board directors are also encouraged to mentor or sponsor people of colour within their own companies to ensure that they are ready to assume leadership roles.

There is also a call for companies to be more transparent, with a description of a board’s policy on diversity to be set out in a company’s annual report.

Sir John Parker, who was appointed in 2015 to chair the industry-led review said, “The Boardrooms of Britain’s leading companies do not reflect the ethnic diversity of either the UK or the stakeholders that they seek to engage and represent.”

“Ethnic minority representation in the Boardrooms across the FTSE 100 and 250 is disproportionately low.”

“Many business leaders would agree that Boards that embrace gender and ethnic diversity benefit in their decision making, by drawing on an array of skills, experience and diverse views.”

“We hope the recommendations made for consultation, will heighten awareness of the growing pool of talent in the ethnic community, and help strengthen Boardrooms across the UK and keep corporate Britain at the forefront of global business.”

In a speech at the launch of Sir John Parker’s independent report, held at EY’s UK headquarters, Business Minister Margot James, said, “I would like to thank Sir John and his steering group for the immense amount of work that lies behind today’s event.”

“And make no mistake: this work matters. Diversity matters.”

“People from different backgrounds bring different experiences and perspectives, and it’s long been recognised that greater diversity in the boardroom can help create constructive and challenging dialogue.”

“The boardroom must reflect modern Britain.”

“Companies will do better if they make better use of the talent available and increase boardroom diversity to reflect their workforces and wider society.”

“Sir John Parker’s review is an important, industry-led contribution and I look forward to the results of the consultation.”

Download the Parker Review here

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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