Labour pledges new diversity quotas in all-white FTSE boards
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said if Labour was elected it would consider “prescriptive measures” to tackle lack of diversity in the City
Monday 10 February 2014
Labour could introduce quotas for women and ethnic minorities on company boards after a study revealed the UK's top firms are still suffering from a “diversity deficit”.
Analysis of 10,000 FTSE 100 executives found that a "glass ceiling" is still in place, with only a dozen of the 289 top posts of chief executive, chairman or chief financial officer held by women, and just ten by ethnic minorities.
More than half of the top stock market-listed companies have no non-white "leaders" on the board and two-thirds have no full-time executives from minority groups at board level, according to the study for executive recruitment consultancy Green Park.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said the research showed an "undeniable and unacceptable" situation and warned a future Labour Government could, if elected, consider introducing boardroom quotas.
Mr Umunna said: "The continued existence of a glass ceiling for women and ethnic minorities in our boardrooms is undeniable and unacceptable.
"Whilst advances on non-executive appointments in recent years have been welcome, progress on executive positions has been lamentable.
"It is clear there is a pipeline of women and ethnic minority candidates, achieving the highest qualifications, who are available for the top jobs and merit appointment, but not nearly enough of them make it through.
"If we do not see enough progress on increasing diversity in our boardrooms, we could consider introducing more prescriptive measures, such as quotas, in a future Labour government."
There are currently just four female chief executives of FTSE 100 companies - Moya Green at Royal Mail, Carolyn McCall at easyJet, Alison Cooper at Imperial Tobacco and Angela Ahrendts at Burberry. Liv Garfield is set to join their ranks later this year as boss of Severn Trent, while Ahrendts will depart to take up a position at Apple.
Former Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman Trevor Phillips, who carried out the study with King's College London academic Professor Richard Webber, said: "In the past decade there has been a growing consensus that our business elite is simply too narrow in its outlook, too prone to a herd mentality and just not switched on enough to the 21st century world.
"As China grows to be the largest consumer market in the world; and as the United States becomes a majority-minority society the fact that two thirds of our biggest companies have all white executive teams - and apparently not one person of Chinese descent - should set off a big red flashing light that we aren't equipping ourselves to compete in these markets.
"And as women become more important consumers domestically, it's self-defeating that they remain junior partners at the top of our economy.
"The fact is that if we're going to earn our way out of the recession, we just can't afford to be saddled with a diversity deficit this big."
The Green Park Leadership 10,000 used computer software to analyse the backgrounds of Britain's most top business executives, including gender and ethno-cultural composition, looking at 15 business sectors.
It found that sectors which had a good gender balance - like utilities - had less ethnic balance and visa versa.
Women and minority leaders feature "disproportionately" as non-executive board directors, which the report claims gives them less influence than their overall numbers suggest.
The research claims women occupy about one in four of the so-called Top 100 positions across FTSE 100 companies - leaders of minority origin account for just under one in seventeen.
Additional reporting agencies
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...