Companies are coming under increasing pressure from staff, clients and investors to make their boardrooms more diverse, and while women are making some inroads, there is still a long way to go for ethnic minorities.
In 2011, the Government-backed Davies review set ambitions for 25pc of FTSE 100 boards to have female representation by 2015 – a target that was met. The Hampton-Alexander Review built on the work of the Davies Review, setting out a separate target to increase the number of women on FTSE 350 boards. According to figures published in November, companies are “on track” to meet the goal of having at least 33pc representation of women on FTSE 350 boards by 2020.
While the figures make for depressing reading (only 6pc of FTSE 100 bosses are currently women), the picture is bleaker still for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women, of which there are none currently at the helm of a FTSE company. Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, says fewer than 1pc of power positions go to BAME women.
“This clearly represents a huge waste of talent and expertise, as women of colour are not given the chance to get to the top,” she adds.