Almost 90 per cent of Britain’s top companies have met ambitious goals to have more ethnically diverse boards.
The secretary of state for business heralded “great strides” made in British firms, following a report by the Parker Review Committee, revealing 89 FTSE 100 firms are now more representative than five years ago.
This comes after a report was published in 2017 led by Sir John Parker, chair of the review panel, recommending that by 2021 all FTSE 100 firms should have at least one director from an Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) community. At the time, just 51 per cent of firms filled that criteria.
In 2021, 74 companies had a BAME representative on their board while another five are expected to appoint directors from minority backgrounds by later this month. Three others have committed to the Parker Review target and are actively recruiting.
Welcoming the announcement, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, secretary of state for business, said: “While there is still more to do, today’s findings demonstrate the great strides being made – particularly at FTSE 100 level – to increase ethnic diversity on boards, as more of Britain’s biggest companies recognise the business case for diversifying their teams so that they better reflect the society we live in.”
There was also progress made amongst FTSE 250 companies, who have a separate 2024 deadline to have an ethnic minority director. Almost 130 companies have now met that target.
“This milestone year showcases the extraordinary sea change within listed companies regarding diversity and inclusion”, said Sir John Parker, chairman of the Parker Review Committee.
“The progressive leadership in FTSE Boardrooms deserves our congratulations and fulsome praise for their positive response to a range of initiatives over the past decade including this Review.”
Co-Chairman of the Parker Review Committee, David Tyler, said the figures “compare starkly and very favourably with the position in 2017”, but threw caution the wind, saying “companies should not think of the Parker Review targets as ‘one and done’”, by continuing to actively recruit top people from minority communities.
The figures were welcomed by chief executive of the National Equality Standard, and adviser to the Parker Review, Arun Batra, who praised the progress “despite the impact of COVID-19 on recruitment processes”, while stressing the new focus of FTSE 250.
The Steering Group was established in 2015/16, with Sir John Parker recently announcing David Tyler will assume the lead char for the remainder of the review.