Thursday 1 October 2020 12:31 pm

FTSE 100 firms 'should have one BAME board member by 2021'

FTSE 100 firms should have at least one black, Asian, or minority ethnic (BAME) member on their boards by 2021, the Confederation of British Industry has said.

The CBI is set to launch its Change the Race Ratio campaign later this month with support from companies including Aviva, Brunswick, Deloitte and Microsoft, in a bid to increase racial and ethnic participation in British businesses.

Currently more than a third of the UK’s biggest firms do not have ethnic minority representation at board level.

The CBI said the progress had been “painfully slow”.

The campaign uses recommendations from the government-backed 2016 Parker Review, which was updated this year and documented “slow progress” in reaching targets.

The body called on companies to set themselves tougher targets within the next 12 months.

It said FTSE 100 companies should have at least racially and ethnically diverse board member by end 2021, while smaller FTSE 250 firms should accomplish the same by 2024.

“The time has come for a concerted campaign on racial and ethnic participation in business leadership,” said Lord Karan Bilimoria, the first BAME president of the CBI.

“Progress has been painfully slow. We want to do for racial and ethnic diversity what the 30 per cent Club has done so successfully for gender equality”.

The CBI has also called on firms to be “transparent” with planned targets and progress against them, as well as to disclose ethnicity pay gaps by 2022.

And it also urged a more “inclusive culture” in terms of recruitment, mentoring and support and working with a more diverse suppliers, including minority-owned businesses.

Deloitte UK chief executive Richard Houston said: “The energy of the Black Lives Matter movement has given a fresh sense of urgency around racial diversity in business. Change the Race Ratio aims to grasp this moment to create real and lasting change.”