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58% of FTSE 100 boards have no ethnic minority presence

There has only been a slight improvement since last year

Almost six in 10 (58%) main boards in the FTSE 100 currently have no ethnic minority presence, according to a report from Green Park.

The Leadership 10,000 report found that there has only been a slight improvement since last year, when 62 companies reported having all-white main boards.

There remains no female ethnic minority CEO or CFO in the FTSE 100 and women still only hold 6% of the top 300 jobs, the report found. Looking at the ethnicity of the 21 chair, CEO and CFO positions held by women in the FTSE 100, 20 are white.

White women were found to be twice as likely to reach the top three positions in a FTSE 100 company compared to an ethnic minority male, and 20 times more likely than an ethnic minority female.

Taking the top 10,000 roles as a whole, there has been an increase of 451 (102%) ethnic minority executives throughout the FTSE 100 leadership this year, a collective increase of 0.5% and 5% at top 20 and top 100 levels respectively.

Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park, warned firms not to overlook candidates from certain backgrounds. “In a world where access to top talent from abroad may be increasingly limited, it would be foolish for major enterprises to continue to ignore talent from underrepresented groups,” he said.

“Given the need for greater cultural empathy in a post-Brexit Britain, being able to move forward sustainably will become an increasingly important element of brand trust in the eyes of the public, regulators and institutional investors.”

Ruby McGregor-Smith, vice-chair of DRIVE (Green Park’s social enterprise) said that firms could use the data in the report to improve. “Despite the Leadership 10,000 report showing that every industry in the FTSE 100 still needs to do better with proportional diversity, the findings provide actionable baseline data for the index to improve their leadership's diversity, moving them closer to achieving the diversity dividend,” she said.

“This report's data paints a clear picture of current-state diversity across the index and can be used to proactively take diversity conversations to the boards of our leading companies to show minority communities that they are a priority to the companies they work for.”

Tulsiani added that better recruitment strategies could improve the situation. “What we are seeing is a trend to ‘tick the boxes’ in diversity recruitment,” he said. “FTSE companies have had initiatives to improve gender diversity on the board, but now appear to be focusing more on improving their pipelines of future leaders from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The organisations that succeed will adopt a more inclusive overall recruitment strategy, rather than addressing each initiative in isolation.”