BAME leadership pipeline flatlining in FTSE 100 firms

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Progress on increasing the number of ethnic minority leaders in the UK’s biggest organisations has stalled and there is a limited pipeline of talent from minority groups.

Just 3.3% of FTSE 100 chairs, CEOs and CFOs are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background – a figure that has not improved since 2014, according to the Green Park Leadership 10,000 report.

The report analyses gender and ethnocultural diversity at three leadership levels in FTSE 100 organisations: the top three level includes chair, CEO and CFO roles; the top 20 level includes board and executive committee members; and the top 100 level consists of senior staff in the “leadership pipeline”.

BAME representation in top 20 roles dropped from 8.8% in 2018 to 7.4% in 2019. In top 100 roles, the figure remained flat at 10.7% (2018: 10.6%).

Forty-seven companies still have no ethnic minority membership at board and executive director level.

Trevor Phillips OBE, chair of Green Park and founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Our latest analysis shows that after five years of monitoring, the promise that things would change over time for ethnic minority leaders in the FTSE 100 looks just as empty as the corporate pipeline. Women are cracking the glass ceiling; but people of colour remain super-glued to the corporate floor.”

The consultancy recommends that firms that truly want to enact change should follow the example set by many US-based organisations and appoint a chief diversity officer.

“If the UK’s companies continue to ignore the experience and actions of their US competitors, they risk falling behind. With this attitude, post Brexit, we can expect talented female and minority executives – just like many of our minority actors – to exit to the USA to get a break,” said Phillips.

Women are cracking the glass ceiling; but people of colour remain super-glued to the corporate floor.” – Trevor Phillips, Green Park chair

The report also looks at the number of women in senior positions in FTSE 100 firms. The proportion of women in top three roles increased by just one percentage point to 8.6% in 2019.

Although female representation in the c-suite has risen from 10 to 26 roles since 2014, the report notes that it would take another 50 years for women and men to be equally represented at this level.

The proportion of women increased to 28.8% from 26.3% in top 20 roles. The figure barely changed for top 100 roles (28.9% up from 28.8%).

At a sectoral level, the transport industry made the most progress in ethnocultural diversity in top 100 roles (from 2.6% in 2014 to 10% in 2019). The media sector saw the most improvement in terms of gender diversity at this level (34.5% in 2014 to 47.2% this year).

Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park, commented: “The increasingly patchy progress in many sectors may be a sign that some companies find it hard to focus on diversity in the true sense of the word, opting for concerted effort in the areas of gender or race but struggling to consistently address both.

“If British business is serious about presenting a modern face to the world it needs to properly invest in diversity and inclusivity leadership, and give those leaders the resources to match.”

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One Response to BAME leadership pipeline flatlining in FTSE 100 firms

  1. Avatar
    Andrew Turvey 4 Dec 2019 at 12:28 pm #

    Worth mentioning that the proportion of the population in the UK who are of BAME background is 12%, according to the latest census.

    Many people in London (where it is much higher) instinctively think it’s much higher.

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