Our second Green Park Leadership 10,000 report takes place against a background of growing concern about the levels of diversity in major companies.
The case for diversity has been made repeatedly, both by business and political leaders over recent years. As the global economy recovers and competition increases, the importance of talent in leadership has become greater than ever. Many companies have declared their intention to promote diverse talent.
Two key government supported initiatives have crystallised these concerns. The 25% target set by Lord Davies for gender diversity is being closely monitored; the aim was to meet the target by the end of this year.
In addition, the 2020 campaign to ensure that no FTSE 100 board is monocultural by the year 2020 was launched in December 2014 by the then Secretary of State.
Our report provides a picture of the current situation. It offers some encouragement in the case of gender, but shows that there is something of a pipeline for Women to be able to gain more senior roles.
Women continue to feature disproportionately as Non-Executive Board Directors; as a consequence, their true level of influence is far smaller than their numbers suggest.
There has been a small increase in the number of women holding Chair, CEO and CFO positions. With a slow but steady rise in the numbers of women at Top 20 and Top 100 positions, however, not enough to suggest that there will be a significant increase in future appointments to Executive Director roles.
Analysis by industrial sector shows slow improvement in most sectors at the top 100 level ‘pipeline’ level which indicates where the next Executive Directors may come from. The most significant rise in the number of women in these roles occurred in the Telecoms and Construction and Property sectors. The biggest faller was the technology sector which lost almost 10 per cent of its female leaders at this level.
Trevor Phillips, Chair of Green Park Diversity Analytics adds:
“Diversity is only of value to business if it genuinely brings people of different outlook, experience and culture to the table – there are few benefits to cosmetic change. This research reveals that the drive for diversity in Britain’s top companies is in danger of becoming a euphemism for more seats for professional white women at board tables.
The analysis in this report of the Top 100 pipeline, which illustrates a real lack of progress in developing a broader range of future board leaders shows companies need to take quick action to refocus and recalibrate efforts to increase diversity.”