More than half of firms in the FTSE 100 do not have any directors from an ethnic minority on their board, latest government-commissioned research shows.

Of all the firms in the FTSE 100 index, only seven have boards where more than a third of directors are from ethnic backgrounds –  and most of them have links to South Africa. Eight per cent of the firms are managed by non-white directors, even though 14 per cent of the British population is non-white.

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Companies in the UK therefore do not reflect the current UK workforce, making them less competitive, the Government report says.

Sir John Parker, who led the review, said: “The boardrooms of Britain’s leading companies do not reflect the ethnic diversity of either the UK or the stakeholders that they seek to engage and represent.”

He added: “Ethnic minority representation in the boardrooms across the FTSE 100 and 250 is disproportionately low.

“This is not an exercise of tokenism; the recommendations are underpinned by strong industrial logic and the need for UK companies to be competitive in the increasingly challenging global marketplace.”

‘encouraging diversity has helped my business grow’

Cliff Jones, who owns Gloucestershire based estate agents Parkers, said: “Ethnic diversity in the workplace is so important, encouraging diversity has helped my business grow and thrive.

“Here at Parkers I have a diverse workplace, I have men, women, employees who are religious and others who come from ethnic backgrounds and I believe that’s what’s made my business stronger.

“However, I do feel there needs to be more companies who take this approach as it’s something which is so important but often forgotten.”

Following the report

In his report, Sir John Parker states that companies should:

  1. Encourage and support candidates drawn from diverse backgrounds.
  2. Identify, develop and promote people of colour within their organisations.
  3. Include a description of the company’s effort to increase, amongst other things, ethnic diversity within its organisation in it’s annual report.

Companies in Gloucestershire adopt these guidelines as a rule, and have been doing so for a number of years. Some examples of these include:

GCHQ celebrating sexual diversity this year by ‘projecting a spectrum of colours onto the outside of our iconic building in Cheltenham’

UCAS requiring ‘a record of championing equality of opportunity and diversity’

GE’s success with diversity being a ‘reflection of the integrity of our leadership and builds a strong foundation for future leaders to continue our tradition of inclusiveness.’

 

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