CBI sets out to Change the Race Ratio at the top of British businesses

British businesses are launching a new campaign to increase racial and ethnic participation in senior leadership

Aviva, BiTC, Brunswick, Deloitte, Linklaters and Russell Reynolds are among the business to join with the CBI to launch Change the Race Ratio– a campaign to increase racial and ethnic diversity in British companies.

Change the Race Ratio calls on businesses to commit to implementing tangible actions that will
enable them to set and publish clear targets for greater racial and ethnic diversity at board and senior leadership levels.

The CBI is urging employers to take urgent action on black and ethnic minority participation by adopting
the recommendations set out in the Government’s Parker Review into ethnic diversity on boards, published in 2016.

These include a target of having at least one member from a BAME background on every FTSE 100 board by the end of 2021 – a target, that is likely to be missed according to a review of the make up of FTSE’s boards by DiversityQ.com in June.

In terms of diversity, white males make up 62% of boards and occupy 83.8% of executive directorships. White females make up just 28.2% of boards, male BAMEs 6% and female BAMEs 3.8%, according to The DiversityQ FTSE 100 Board Diversity Report 2020.

Little progress

There are just 99 senior BAME people at board level, comprising 19 executive directorships and 80
non-executive directorships, the research reveals. Although women hold 38.4% of all BAME senior board level positions, no BAME women have an executive appointment.

DiversityQ’s research further found that nearly half (49%) of FTSE 100 companies still lack any BAME representation at board level. In total, there are 1,013 board members across the FTSE 100, comprising 326 executive directors and 687 non-executive roles.

Change the Race Ratio

The Change the Race Ratio comprises four Commitments to Change, based on the Parker Review

  1. Increase racial and ethnic diversity among Board members: take action to set targets to achieve:
  • FTSE 100 – At least one racially and
    ethnically diverse Board member by end 2021
  • FTSE 250 – At least one racially and
    ethnically diverse Board member by 2024.

2. Increase racial and ethnic diversity in senior leadership: take action at ExCo and ExCo minus one to set clear and stretching targets and publish them within 12 months of making this commitment.

In addition, establish a separate target for black participation at both levels.

3. Be transparent on actions: publish a clear action plan to achieve the targets and share progress in the Annual Report or on the company website.

In addition, disclose ethnicity pay gaps by 2022, at the latest. 

4. Create an inclusive culture in which talent from all diversities can thrive: focusing on recruitment and talent development processes to drive a more diverse pipeline; data collection and analysis; fostering safe, open and transparent dialogue, with mentoring, support and sponsorship; and working with a more diverse set of suppliers and partners, including minority-owned businesses.

Major policy move

Change the Race Ratio is the first significant policy to be implemented by Lord Karan Bilimoria since he took over as the CBI’s president in the summer. He said: “We believe that if all businesses promise to take these actions, publish their targets and are transparent about progress, creating a culture that enables diverse thinking and talent to thrive, then together we can Change the Race Ratio.

“In so doing, we will create a more diverse and inclusive business community and ultimately, a more equitable society.”

Change happens with challenge and support 

Bilimoria added: “Our campaign will foster a community that works together and shares good practice – because we know that real change will take time and a dedicated, concerted and collaborative effort. We must challenge and inspire each other to push harder and do better.

“Whether you are a business making good progress or are unsure about where to start, signatories will be supported by our founders and ambassadors and will, in time, have access to a range of resources to support them to take action on our commitments to change.”

How can businesses get involved?

The CBI is encouraging business leaders to become signatories and make a commitment to Change the Race Ratio ahead of the official launch at the end of October 2020. If you are interested in becoming a signatory and taking action, contact Richard DeNetto at the CBI.


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