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Employers are being urged to increase efforts to get more people from ethnic minorities onto their boards as figures show a slight drop for FTSE 100 companies in the last year.
An update on the Parker review of progress on getting more people from ethnic minorities onto FTSE 10 boards shows a slight fall from 85 to 84 of the 1,048 director positions. The review set a target for FTSE 100 companies of at least one board-level director from an ethnic minority background by 2021.
Sir John Parker, Chairman of the Parker Review Committee, said:“This update shows that we still have much to do when it comes to ethnic and cultural diversity in the boardroom. FTSE 100 and 250 Boards need to do more to reflect the society we live in and the international markets in which they operate.
“We are, however, pleased with progress in enhancing transparency and disclosure this year. It is clear that companies are increasingly aware of changing expectations and business imperatives around the need for a more inclusive society. We urge them, therefore, to translate the growing understanding of the importance of this issue into real change in the Boardroom in the coming years.”
The release of the figures comes the day after Theresa May announced a new Race at Work Charter and a consultation on ethnicity pay audits to tackle inequality in the workplace.
Developed jointly by the government and Business in the Community (BITC), the new Charter will commit businesses to a set of principles and actions which aims to counter discrimination in the workplace.
Early signatories include NHS England, Standard Life Aberdeen, Norton Rose Fulbright, Saatchi & Saatchi, KPMG, RBS, the Civil Service and communications services firm WPP whose UK Chairwoman Karen Blackett is the government’s Race at Work Champion.
In addition, the government says Lloyds Banking Group, also among the Charter’s signatories, is the first FTSE 100 company to set a goal to increase the representation of ethnic minority employees at senior levels.
Alongside the Race at Work Charter, the Prime Minister will also today launch a consultation on ethnicity pay reporting in response to the Race Disparity Audit’s Ethnicity facts and figures website data, which reveals significant disparities in the pay and progression of ethnic minority employees compared to their white counterparts.
In the first consultation of its kind, the government will invite employers to share their views on a mandatory approach to ethnicity pay reporting similar to gender pay audits.
The consultation, open until January 2019, will set out in detail what information employers should publish to allow for decisive action to be taken while also asking employers how ethnicity data can be collected without placing undue burdens on businesses.
The NHS, Armed Forces, schools and police forces are also setting out their plans today on how to increase the proportion of public sector leaders from ethnic minority backgrounds. These include proposals from school leaders to address disparities in the teaching workforce and publication of the National Police Chief Council’s first national Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Strategy.
Karen Blackett [pictured] stated: “Embracing diversity and inclusion is not a choice, it’s a business necessity. Clients choose WPP precisely because of the capability and creativity of our people; it’s why we’re focused on attracting, developing and promoting the best talent from across a range of backgrounds. Creativity powers business growth and this only happens by having diversity of talent in the room and reflecting society in the content we create.
“As the Government’s Race at Work Champion, I’m committed to helping businesses address inequality at all levels by taking practical steps such as introducing apprenticeships, offering mentorships and capturing ethnicity data to create a more inclusive and representative workforce.”