Nearly half of FTSE 350 companies now have a director of colour on their board, driven by increasing pressure on companies to improve diversity at leadership level.
Of FTSE 350 companies, 45 per cent – meaning 123 companies – were recorded as having a director from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background in 2021, according to new data from Thomson Reuters.
The figures mark a significant change of pace as last year just a fifth of directors hailed from a BAME background, accounting for 59 companies.
The government-commissioned Parker Review recommended at least one director of colour in each FTSE 100 board by the end of 2021 and by 2024 for FTSE 250 boards.
“There seems to be no slowing in the drivers for increased board and leadership diversity, including pressure from politicians and regulators,” said Hilary Owens Gray, director of practical law at Thomson Reuters.
“However, there is more progress to be made,” she warned.
“For example, while female representation on boards has dramatically increased in the past year, at executive level it has remained stagnant.”
The research also found that women now make up almost 40 per cent of FTSE 100 boards, mostly in director roles. Although the finding demonstrates a rise of 35 per cent compared to last year, Thomson Reuters data showed women only held 14 per cent of all executive roles in FTSE 100 companies.
Of the 402 directorships held by women on FTSE 100 boards only 7.5 per cent were in executive roles compared to 8.5 per cent of 361 directorships held by women in 2020.
The review by Thomson Reuters excluded investment trusts and looked at 272 companies in the FTSE 350.