Are Ethnic Minorities represented in UK Senior Boardrooms?

A review has advised FTSE 350 businesses to set a target for the proportion of ethnic minority executives in UK boardrooms.

Are Ethnic Minorities represented in UK Senior Boardrooms f


"the development of ethnic minority executives.”

According to The Parker Review, FTSE 350 businesses should set a target for the proportion of ethnic minority executives who hold senior management roles in UK boardrooms by the end of 2027.

An informal survey of those firms found that by the end of 2022, 96 of the FTSE 100 index’s companies had at least one director with a background in an ethnic minority.

In addition, 49 of these 96 firms now have more than one director who belongs to a minority racial or ethnic group on their boards.

This was an increase over 2021 when just 89 organisations had met the objective, but it also demonstrated that some of the top businesses in Britain continue to use all-white boardrooms.

According to David Tyler, the Parker Review committee’s current head, the FTSE 100 aim “has effectively now been reached”.

He said: “We have long argued that companies benefit from ensuring that succession planning and management development plans include the development of ethnic minority executives.”

Yet just seven people from ethnic minorities presently serve as the chief executive of an FTSE 100 business, only one more than in 2022, demonstrating that progress in increasing diversity in executive posts has been sluggish.

The chief financial officer role is held by nine people, while the chair is held by six additional ethnic minority executives.

Almost 10% of these top positions are held by members of racial or ethnic minorities.

Mr Tyler emphasised that voluntary aims have been proven to be more successful than mandatory targets for racial and gender diversity.

He remarked: “Most countries in Europe, particularly when it comes to gender, have mandatory requirements to have a certain percentage of women on their boards.

“We have made more progress in the UK than most of those countries have through mandatory targets.

“And I think this approach is working well, and I’m not aware of anywhere else in Europe where there are targets for ethnic minorities.

“I hope that it is a model that other countries might want to follow in future.”

By the end of 2027, FTSE 350 businesses must set a percentage goal for the number of senior management roles held by ethnic minority executives, under the new goals established by The Parker Review.

By December 2027, 50 of the biggest private companies in the UK will have met their targets for having at least one ethnic minority director on the main board and a certain proportion of ethnic minority executives in senior management teams.

Also, it has offered suggestions for some of the possibilities and difficulties that businesses have as they work to reach the desired percentage of ethnic minorities in senior board committee positions.

Ilsa is a digital marketeer and journalist. Her interests include politics, literature, religion and football. Her motto is “Give people their flowers whilst they’re still around to smell them.”

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