The number of FTSE 350 companies with a director of colour on the board has jumped by 108 per cent this year to 123.
This means that around 45 per cent of FTSE 350 companies now have a director of colour on the board, up from just over a fifth one year ago data from Thomson Reuters has shown. While steps are being made in the right direction researchers warned that FTSE companies have a long way to go in pursuit of gender and racial equality.
Hilary Owens Gray, director of practical law at Thomson Reuters says: “FTSE 350 companies are taking great strides to increase diversity at board level. However, there is more progress to be made.”
Owens noted that while female representation on boards has dramatically increased in the past year, at executive level it has remained stagnant with data showing that women are under-represented across FTSE 100 companies.
Just 402 women hold directorships across FTSE 100 boards, representing 39 per cent of all directorship positions. A mere 14 per cent of executive roles across the FTSE 100 are held by women and only 16 FTSE 100 companies now have equal representation at board level.
“It is important that companies continue to make improvements in this area, as there seems to be no slowing in the drivers for increased board and leadership diversity, including pressure from politicians and regulators. Evidence shows that more diverse businesses can be more successful businesses and ultimately deliver better long-term returns for shareholders,” Owens continued.
In order to push companies towards better representation the UK’s financial watchdog launched a consultation into diversity on boards and executive committee.
The FCA has proposed amendments to listing rules, disclosure guidance and transparency rules which would require companies to publish details of gender and ethnic minority representation on their boards.