There are twice as many people named John or Jonathan on the board of the UK’s biggest firms than there are British black and minority ethnic (BME) directors, according to new research.
The statistics, which show that two per cent of FTSE 100 board members are BME – seven times lower than if representation matched the population – comes after the government mooted the possibility of ethnicity pay gap reporting.
Earlier this month the Department for Business launched a consultation into how mandatory reporting could address inequalities in the workforce, following the introduction of gender pay gap reporting this year.
According to the Global Future figures published today, of the top 100 businesses in Britain, 49 have no BME representation on their boards and 43 per cent of board members are white British males.
Global Future chief executive Gurnek Bains said: “The Prime Minister is right to identify the biases that stop BME people from getting on and getting fair treatment at work as a ‘burning injustice’ in modern Britain, but businesses shouldn’t wait for government to act.
“In fact, Britain’s top firms should recognise that diversity is strength. From top to bottom businesses have got to do more to harness the power and potential of the UK’s BME communities.”
According to 2015 research by management consultancy McKinsey there is a “statistically significant relationship between a more diverse leadership team and better financial performance.”
Bains added: “This isn’t just a question of fairness either, after all the research shows that diverse companies are much more likely to succeed than their monochrome competitors.
“All too often, executive boards have been dominated by a narrow clique of people who share the same sex, the same race, the same social background, the same nationality – and for a surprising number, even the same name.
“Cutting out BME Brits isn’t just wrong but it’s also bad for business. Companies which exclude diverse voices are missing out.”