Ethnic diversity in FTSE 100 leadership pipeline improves for first time in four years

Key facts show

A new study from Green Park shows the leadership pipeline, supplying the highest tier of management in FTSE 100 companies, features the highest level of ethnic minority talent in four years. Progress is being made with ethnic minorities moving up the management funnel, though at five percent of those in the pipeline it still is not a fair representation of British society.

While the pipeline is improving there remains a question over whether minorities can break through the glass ceiling, as the top roles in companies remain a closed shop for ethnic minority and female leaders. There has been a decrease of 18 per cent in the number of ethnic minorities holding positions at Chair, CEO and CFO level in FTSE 100 companies. 

Almost six in 10 (58 per cent) main boards in the FTSE100 currently have no ethnic minority presence. This is a slight improvement on the 62 companies that recorded all-white main boards in last year’s report. Yet it calls into question whether the target set in Sir John Parker’s consultation document that no FTSE board should remain mono-racial by 2020 will be met. 

There remains no female ethnic minority CEO or CFO in the FTSE 100 and women still only hold six per cent of the top 300 jobs. Looking at the ethnicity of the 21 Chair, CEO and CFO positions held by women in the FTSE, 20 are white. White women are twice as likely to reach the top three positions in a FTSE 100 company compared to an ethnic minority male and 20 times more likely than an ethnic minority female.

The Green Park Leadership 10,000 report analyses the backgrounds of those holding the top 20 leadership roles within FTSE100 companies including CEOs, CFOs and Chairmen. It also analyses the next 100 senior roles to identify the future management pipeline. It reveals that despite a net average increase in diversity over last year’s report, there remains a glass ceiling stopping talented minority candidates reaching the upper echelons of management and worryingly, previous progress and momentum are starting to reverse.

 Positive advancement

Green Park’s analysis also looked at the firms that were out performing the rest of the FTSE100 in terms of diversity. InterContinental Hotels Group plc is the top performing FTSE 100 company in Green Park’s rankings for gender and ethnic diversity, followed by Standard Chartered plc and Unilever plc.

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