White men dominate in the kind of roles that lead to the boardroom

A new report which analyses the diversity leadership pipeline by job function shows that white men dominate in the roles that lead to the top and that Diversity and Inclusion is one of the least diverse categories.


Ethnic minorities and females are still being pushed into functions which are far less likely routes into the top tier of leadership than those taken by their white, male counterparts, according to a new report.

The Green Park Business Leaders Index of FTSE 100 companies shows women and ethnic minorities are most likely to be founded in HR, Diversity and Marketing & Communications, which have lower salaries and are less likely to be found in the boardroom, which is dominated by people with experience in finance, sales and operations.

The annual survey by recruitment and diversity consultancy Green Park presents a diversity analysis of industry sectors, but this year it includes a breakdown of gender and ethnocultural diversity by job function.

This reveals that one of the least diverse functions is Diversity & Inclusion. 85.4% of Diversity & Inclusion leadership roles at FTSE100 companies are held by women. 62.5% of Diversity and Leadership leaders are white women, with ethnic minority females the second most represented group at 22.9%. Ethnic minority males are the least represented in this function at 6.3%. Human Resources is also predominantly a white female enclave at 55%, while white men dominate in Digital, Data and Technology (76%), Governance and Operations (73%) Commercial and procurement (71%) and Finance (69%) – all considered more direct routes to the boardroom.

The Business Leaders Index shows that there are no black leaders in C-suite roles at FTSE 100 companies, dropping to zero after stalling for the past six years.

The report recommends organisations to adopt  a new rule to highlight any key business decisions, such as major appointments or acquisitions, taken by a leadership team which is all male or all-white. The company’s own board has instructed that under the “Green Park Rule” any spending decision above 1% of turnover must be made by a diverse group; if this is not possible, it says, that should always be reported to the board and noted in the company’s annual report.

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