Aviva, Deloitte and Microsoft to set new boardroom racial diversity targets
Aviva, Deloitte and Microsoft’s UK business will set fresh ethnicity targets for their boardroom and executive teams, as part of a new drive to address the “painfully slow” progress in improving racial diversity across British business.
The companies are among the first signatories to the CBI’s Change the Race Ratio campaign, which will align with – and expand – on targets set by the Parker Review in 2016.
BAME representation in UK’s top jobs has barely risen in past three years
The government-backed Parker Review gave FTSE 100 companies until the end of 2021 to appoint at least one BAME board-level director, with FTSE 250 companies given until 2024 to do the same. However, the CBI said 37% of FTSE 100 firms still did not have any minority ethnic representation on their boards.
The CBI’s campaign will maintain those boardroom targets, but go further: asking companies to publish ethnicity pay gaps reports, and set concrete targets for the ethnic diversity of their executive and senior management teams within 12 months of signing up.
Karan Bilimoria, the CBI’s first BAME president, said: “The time has come for a concerted campaign on racial and ethnic participation in business leadership. Progress has been painfully slow. We want to do for racial and ethnic diversity what the 30% Club has done so successfully for gender equality”.
All UK businesses are invited to join the campaign, regardless of whether they are listed on the stock market. The PR firm Brunswick, the law firm Linklaters and the headhunters Russell Reynolds are also among the first companies to sign up.
Signatories will be expected to publish “clear and stretching targets” for boosting ethnic diversity on executive teams within 12 months of signing. Companies will have to provide similar targets for senior managers below the executive level.
They will have to publish a clear action plan, outlining how they will meet those targets, and share their progress online or through annual reports. That is on top of disclosing ethnicity pay gaps no later than 2022.
Businesses will also pledge to build an “inclusive culture” where diverse talent can thrive, by providing staff with mentorship opportunities, and committing to working work with minority-owned partners and suppliers.
It is the latest attempt by UK businesses to show they are taking concrete action in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the mass protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May.
Richard Houston, the chief executive of Deloitte UK, said: “The energy of the Black Lives Matter movement has given a fresh sense of urgency around racial diversity in business. Change the Race Ratio aims to grasp this moment to create real and lasting change.”
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