Great Britain

One third of FTSE 100 companies lack ethnic minority representation on boards

More than a third of the companies in the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 Index still lack ethnic minority representation on their boards, a new report has revealed.

On Wednesday, the Parker Review report, a collaboration between businessman Sir John Parker, Ernst and Young (EY) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was released.

In 2017, the first report released by the Parker Review Committee challenged FTSE 100 companies to hit the “One by 2021 target”, which outlined that they would have at least one director of an ethnic minority background on their boards.

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However, according to the new release, this may be a “challenging” aim for several FTSE 100 companies to achieve.

The report outlined that 37 per cent of the 83 surveyed FTSE 100 companies still do not have any ethnic minority representation on their boards.

In 2017, more than half of the surveyed FTSE 100 companies (51 out of 100) did not have any ethnic representation on the boards of their firms.

The new data shows that over the past three years, an additional 11 more companies of the FTSE 100 now have a board member from an ethnic minority background.

However, Sir Parker, who is chair of the Parker Review Committee, states that “there is still much more work to be done to reap the undeniable benefits that diverse leadership provides”.

“Ethnic diversity needs to be given the same level of board room focus that finally led to increasing female representation on boards, which has seen real progress in recent years,” he said.

“Action is needed to bring about long-term change.”

The report also included data from the FTSE 350 for the first time.

Of the 256 companies surveyed from the FTSE 350, almost 60 per cent had no ethnic minority representation on their boards.

Sandra Kerr CBE, race equality director at Business in the Community (BITC), said that in her view “the most disappointing news” is that “only 256 out of the FTSE 350 were able to sufficiently capture ethnicity data within their organisations”.

“Without that there can be no action taken or real commitment to addressing the lack of representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers at the most senior levels of monitoring ethnicity pay gaps.”

Kerr outlined that action must be taken in order to provide more workers of ethnic minorities with opportunities in the workplace.

“There is a lot of talk about widening access to opportunity, but taking real action to increase access to key roles and manage the diversity of the talent pipeline within the organisation is vital if employers really want diversity in their senior and executive positions,” she said.