By Sangeeta Haindl - There is growing concern about the levels of diversity in major companies, revealing that there is still a mountain to climb when it comes to ethnicity in the U.K. workplace. New figures reveal that FTSE 100 businesses lost 40 Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) leaders in a year, and will lose another 35 this year if the trend carries on. These bleak facts were highlighted with the announcement of the Top 100 Black and Minority Ethnic Leaders in U.K. Business List at the House of Lords on 26 April. The list was drawn up by an independent judging panel consisting of Raj Tulsiani, Baroness Janet Royall, Baroness Oona King, Lord Victor Adebowale and Lord Chris Holmes, who together identified over 650 board-ready ethnic minority leaders, based on their professional achievements and contributions in trying to address diversity deficits.
Disappointingly, over the last two years the growth of BAMEs on boards of FTSE 100 companies has slowed, going from a 0.7 percent growth rate during 2014 to 2015 to a meagre 0.1 percent from 2015 to 2016. This translates to just a measly, 6.7 percent of FTSE 100 board members being BAME - an increase from 6.6 percent in 2015 and 5.9 percent in 2014. While BAMEs occupy only 3.2 percent of the U.K.’s ministerial departments’ top 20 positions; clearly showing that BAME business leaders still face a number of challenges and barriers in and out of the workplace.
This stark data complied by Green Park’s research arm, Green Park Diversity Analytics, has played a role in creating the Parker Review, the government-supported project to map and promote ethno-cultural diversity on FTSE 100 boards. The Review, led by Sir John Parker, Chairman of Anglo-American, will work in parallel with the Review led by Lady McGregor-Smith to look at the position of ethnic minorities in the wider labour market. Green Park's annual investigations show we are going backwards in terms of BAME representation at board and leadership levels.
Diversity is important to companies who are also frustrated by the slow pace of change. Organisations such as the BBC, Bank of England, Intel and KPMG are setting targets for increasing the number of employees from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. In some cases, strategies supporting these targets are being integrated into managers' objectives and even tied to their compensation, alongside more conventional goals such as increased sales.
There needs to be a collective approach to create change as now, less than 25 percent of BAME leaders in the U.K. are British passport holders, as many have moved abroad. In comparison, British companies tend to see diversity as a social justice issue, while American companies want executives from minority backgrounds to keep them in touch with rapidly changing consumer tastes. The Top 100 BAME Business List has helped to highlight this issue and put it on the agenda. This visibility and recognition will help drive the conversation to better inclusion and opportunities for all.
Photo Credit: British Race Awards
This article originally appeared on Justmeans.
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