There is only one chief executive from an ethnic minority community and one with a disability among the UK’s top 50 charities, according to a study.
The vast majority of chief executives working in the charities sector are white, middle-aged and middle-class, the research by Third Sector magazine showed.
The only non-white chief executive is Daleep Mukarji of Christian Aid, who is Indian. And the only CEO with a disability is Jackie Ballard of the RSPCA, who is blind in one eye.
More than half of charity chief execs have previously worked in the private sector and their average age of 53, the survey showed.
However, gender diversity has improved in the voluntary sector. More than a third (36%) of the top 50 are led by women, compared with just 10% in the private sector.
Stephen Cook, editor of Third Sector, said: “The fundamental problem is that there isn’t a level playing field in British society. But the voluntary sector should be a trailblazer for inclusiveness, and our research shows that in the upper reaches that is not the case, except in increased opportunities for women.”
Andy Rickell, executive director of diversity politics and planning at disability charity Scope, said the results raised serious concerns.
“I would argue that the [voluntary] sector’s workforce should be even more diverse than society as a whole,” he said. “Unless voluntary sector bodies reflect the people they claim to represent, they will be following a paternalistic approach.”