The latest voluntary census by the Parker Review has shown that the UK is making progress in increasing ethnic diversity on company boards.
In 2022, 96 out of the FTSE 100 companies had at least one minority ethnic director on their boards, up from 89 the previous year. Of these 96 companies, 49 had more than one minority ethnic director.
The FTSE 250 companies also showed progress, with 67% of companies responding to the census meeting the target of appointing at least one minority ethnic director, up from 55% the previous year.
The Parker Review has now set new targets for December 2027, with each FTSE 350 company being asked to set a percentage target for senior management positions that ethnic minority executives will occupy.
One size does not fit all
The Parker Review recognises that there can be no “one size fits all” target percentage for ethnic minority executives in senior management. Therefore, it wants each company to set its target. The Review also asks 50 of the UK’s largest private companies to have at least one ethnic minority director on their main board by December 2027.
The progress made in increasing ethnic diversity on company boards is welcomed. However, the Parker Review emphasises that there is a need to ensure equal access to board positions is matched by actions across all levels of business. It is important that diverse talent, including those from a minority ethnic background, are given equal opportunities to contribute to the success of UK businesses.
The Review also encourages companies to describe in their annual reports the management development plans they have to help create a diverse and inclusive talent pipeline.
Progress being made
David Tyler, Chair of the Parker Review Committee, commented on the progress. He stated that “Our latest data demonstrates that continuing progress is being made by FTSE 350 companies to bring ethnic minority directors onto their boards.
“The target we set in 2017, to have at least one ethnic minority director in every FTSE 100 boardroom, has effectively now been reached.”
Tyler also emphasised that companies benefit from ensuring that succession planning and management development plans include the development of ethnic minority executives.