Ethnic Minorities Won't Be Fairly Represented At Work 'Until 2237'

Currently, the entire FTSE-100 gets only one leader of colour every eight years.

Look around your workplace – who are the managers? Statistically, it’s likely to be white men.

A new report by the recruitment consultancy Green Park found that white men continue to dominate executive roles while women and ethnic minorities are still being sidelined in FTSE-100 companies.

In fact, it could be 2237 (that’s 216 years away) before people of colour are represented in proportion to the population in leadership positions, the report suggests. And it will be 2059 before women take up 50% of companies’ top three roles.

In the current FTSE-100, there are only 36 women in these roles – that’s 12.2%.

Green Park said women and people of colour tend to “hold less influence, have lower salaries and are less likely to be on track to c-suite roles”. These groups were more likely to be ‘sidelined’ into human resources and marketing roles, it said, “traditionally less likely to lead to the top executive leadership spots”.

Even within the diversity and inclusion category of these companies, only 29.9% of high-level roles were held by ethnic minorities – with women of colour occupying 22.9%, while men of colour held 6.3%.

It will be a long time before ethnic minorities take up leadership roles in the top FTSE-100 companies.
vitranc via Getty Images
It will be a long time before ethnic minorities take up leadership roles in the top FTSE-100 companies.

In the top three roles of the FTSE 100, “organisations have failed to improve ethnic diversity with only 11 ethnic minority chairs, CEOs and CFOs”, Trevor Phillips, chair of Green Park, said.

“At this rate of change – one leader every eight years – it would take until the year 2237 (216 years) until ethnic minorities were proportionately represented (13%) at top three level,” the report added.

“These figures put some flesh on the bone of last year’s protests,” Green Park said, referencing the global civil justice wave of Black Lives Matters in 2020.

“The snowy peaks of British business remain stubbornly white. This is not happening by accident."”

“We know there is no shortage of qualified candidates to fill these roles if companies are willing to look,” the report goes on.

“Yet the snowy peaks of British business remain stubbornly white. This is not happening by accident. It is a consequence of what we do and what we do not do. That is why we cannot go back to business as usual.”

Baroness Helena Morrissey, non-executive director at Green Park, believes companies need to make diversity and inclusion a core part of their business.

“To achieve results at the most senior levels and to sustain progress for gender diversity on boards, leaders must believe diversity and inclusion is integral to the success of their firm and embed this into the business agenda,” she said.

“Add DEI on strategy day agendas; reward or penalise managers for their inclusive or exclusive behaviours and listen directly to the experiences of women, of ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups rather than delegate the topic to HR. We need to see more leaders become true allies with their own goals bound together with those of their diverse talent,” Morrissey added.