How diverse is the FTSE 100? White men dominate executive roles - and it's getting worse

Billy Ehrenberg
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Of the 289 people occupying the top three posts in FTSE 100 companies only 12 were women (Source: Getty)

The government faces an uphill struggle to meet diversity targets in FTSE 100 boardrooms after research revealed that 69 per cent of FTSE 100 companies are run by all-white executive teams. This comes despite the UK having a population that is 13 per cent non-white, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In the pool of the top 20 individuals across the index, 95 per cent are white and 80 per cent male.

To meet revised targets of 30 per cent of directors being women and 10 per cent non-white, one in every five vacancies (20 per cent) must be filled by a non-white candidate, while one in 10 (10 per cent) would need to be filled by a woman. These figures make the target look achievable, but the trend is going the other way: 65 per cent of executive teams were all-white in February (it's now 69 per cent), while FTSE 100 companies have called Vince Cable's target of 20 per cent of FTSE 100 company directors being non-white by 2020 overambitious.

A closer look reveals more disparity: of the 289 people occupying the top three posts in FTSE 100 companies (chairman, chief executive officer, chief financial officer) only 12 were women.

As the analysis crossed into lower tiers including executive directors (E.D), non-executive directors (N.E.D) and operating boards (Op.board), the findings became more diverse. These charts show the diversity in the top 20 positions in FTSE 100 companies (2,000 roles).

Just as with gender, with ethnic background diversity becomes less at the top of the pile: 95 per cent of directors are white.

The white, patriarchal dominance is different across sectors. The most male-dominated sector is engineering, which is 89 per cent male in the top 20 positions. At the other end, the media industry is comparatively more balanced, although 65.5 per cent of the top 20 roles are still taken by men.

The utilities and engineering sectors both have poor records of hiring non-white candidates for top 20 jobs. In the utilities industry, 100 per cent of such roles are taken by white people, while the figure is 99 per cent in construction.

The natural resources sector is more equal, with 10.4 per cent of those in the top 20 positions being non-white.

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