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Diversity - Etonians no longer dominate senior jobs


The increased diversity of the new Parliament puts it on a par with that of the corporate world.

With nearly a third of House of Commons MPs being entirely new to the job, our post-election Parliament can finally make a claim of being more representative of the broader workplace and society as a whole. Despite the media's obsession with 'Old Etonian' Conservatism, fewer Tory MPs (53%) were privately-educated this time round than in 2005, (when the figure was 60%). Privately-educated MPs now exactly match the number of privately-educated CEOs, with the Tory's 18 Etonians comprising just 6% of its MPs. It is actually the Liberal Democrats who increase their proportion of toffs.

While the UK legislature still ranks a lowly 52nd for its proportion of female MPs, the 2010 election has seen significant diversity strides made. Today the House is 22% female (up from 20% at the 2005 election), and Labour has seen its share of female MPs increase from 27% in 2005 to 31% this year.

All three major parties have boosted female MP numbers, with the Conservatives nearly doubling theirs between the parliaments - thanks mostly to this year's target of having 40% women candidates in winnable seats. Overall the Tories fielded 24% women candidates - up from 19% in 2005.

Parliament now does better than business for female representation at the top, (22 FTSE companies still have all-men boards), but in his election manifesto David Cameron said he wanted to see 50% female long-lists for director roles, adding any board with less than 30% women would have to explain the reason for this in their company reports.

While black and minority ethnic (BME) representation at the top is harder to compare, the 5.4% of BME employees working for 27 of the top FTSE 100, is slightly more than the 4% of parliamentarians now sitting. That said, the number of BME MPs has doubled from 13 to 27 from 2005 to 2010.

But let us not forget Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, who as the only sitting billionaire, firmly supports the age-old truism, 'there's always one ...'