Business Minister Margot James has urged the UK’s largest companies to increase transparency around workplace diversity.
James made the comments ahead of the first meeting of the new Business Diversity and Inclusion Group.
The group was set up to coordinate action to increase diversity and inclusion in business and build on the work of a number of government-backed reviews led by senior business leaders into workplace diversity.
The first meeting, chaired by James, will seek to establish what information listed companies could disclose to help tackle barriers in the workplace.
It comes a week after the government put forward proposals for listed companies to increase transparency about their diversity policies, targets and progress towards those targets, as part of its corporate governance reforms.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which sets high standards of governance for listed firms through the UK Corporate Governance Code, will consider the government’s proposals as part of a review of its code later this year.
Speaking ahead of the first meeting, Business Minister Margot James said, “Being open and transparent about the diversity of workforces is effective in bringing about cultural change – helping to remove barriers in the workplace from the shop floor to the boardroom.”
“So I am calling on our largest companies to lead from the front and promote greater inclusion in their workplaces by increasing transparency about their diversity policies, targets and progress.”
“I would also like to acknowledge the hugely valuable role played by the late Dame Helen Alexander in the effective work on the gender issue.”
“Her loss will be felt by all members of the group.”
Stephen Haddrill, CEO, FRC said, “Diversity at all levels in organisations builds strong foundations for long-term success, in both the private and public sector.”
“Making good use of the talent, skills and experience of all drives better corporate performance and a successful economy.”
“Those businesses which reflect the diverse nature of the environment in which they and their stakeholders operate are the ones that employees, customers and other stakeholders value.”