For the first time in 6 years, there are no black executives in any of the top 3 positions in any of Britain’s biggest 100 companies. Zero. None.
This is the news that left me (along with many others) reeling this week, as revealed in the results of a research study conducted by executive recruitment and diversity consultancy Green Park.
If we expand that statistic to include other ethnic minorities, we only get up to 3.4% (10 out of 297 leaders). We’ve heard so much lip service about diversity in recent years, but with numbers like that, you have to wonder whether anything is changing?
Trevor Phillips, the chairperson of Green Park said it best when he asserted:
Why do we still sit in this position, even though we have a high concentration of people of colour in our workplaces and in our customer bases?
At Connex we’ve written before about the need for diversity at board level, lamenting the fact that our colleagues and residents don’t feel like they have anyone looking out for them in key leadership positions. Employees need role models who they can point to, and take comfort from. We’ve also written about how the company culture is set from the top. And if we don’t include black and minority voices in those positions, we’re setting ourselves up for failure – because we’re ignoring people based purely on an established status quo.
Boardroom diversity in the sector is a crucial issue that needs to be taken a lot more seriously. And here at Connex, we want to be a part of that. We’re tired of shying away from the difficult conversations that need to be had, and so we’re doing something about it.
Ever since launching our Connex Programme last year we planned to run an event on 1st March 2021 focused on board diversity, and the news this week makes this topic all the more pertinent.
This event – taking place next week – will be kindly chaired by Alison Muir, NED for Clarion Housing Group, and we will be hearing from guest speakers:
- Louisa Joseph, Founder, BAME to Boardroom
- Sarah Pierman, CEO, Dynamic Boards
- Vipul Thakker, Group Director of Corporate Services, Notting Hill Genesis
Together, we’ll unpack the issue of boardroom diversity openly and honestly, to provide insights on how boards should be reflecting on their own composition, both now and in the future, so that we can continue to engage with diverse perspectives. We’d love for you to join us and share your own insights. This is a conversation we all need to be having, because it’s something that impacts all of us in workplaces across the whole country.
Change is not going to occur here unless we make radical strategic choices regarding how we think about board composition, especially here in the UK. Discussions like these are just the start, but a necessary first step to bringing this topic into the light and giving it the attention it deserves.