FTSE 350 challenged with "beyond 30%" target for diverse representation

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​New targets have been set to improve gender and racial equality in UK businesses.

Diversity campaign group the 30% Club has announced it is advocating for “beyond 30%” representation of women on FTSE 350 boards, executive committees, and new chair appointments.

By 2023, it is also advocating for half of those places to go to women of colour.

The revised targets align with the Parker Review’s goal which is aiming to see at least one person of colour on the board of each company in the index by 2021.

Though the setting of diversity targets raises some questions about tokenism and wider company strategy, for many the effect it has had so far is at least a move in the right direction.

Since 2010 female representation on FTSE 350 boards has risen by 22.5%, from 9.5% of board positions to and average of 32%. Yet, 127 companies on the index still fail to reach the minimum 30% target.

The same can be said of the Parker Review’s target, as earlier this year 37% of FTSE 100 and 69% of FTSE 250 companies still did not have a person of colour on their board.

Ann Cairns, global chair of the 30% Club said: “There has clearly been good progress on gender diversity on boards over the last decade and the 30% Club is proud to have contributed to this. However, further progress is needed and now is definitely not the time to step off the gas.”

Referencing the pandemic, recent anti-racist protests, the Black Lives Matter movement and a “renewed focus on race relations” across the world, Cairns added: “The glass ceiling is still pervasive and women of colour face some of the greatest hurdles of all. It’s a time of change, a time of acceleration, where we can build a much better world for everyone.

“The future is ours to shape and I hope we take this chance to build a more inclusive business culture. One with few blind spots, one that has purpose. One where stakeholder capitalism drives inclusion and finds women realising their full economic potential.

“Because a world that works better for all women works better for everyone.”

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