Four years to appoint ethnic minority directors in FTSE 100 companies


With more revelations being revealed over the lack of diversity in the positions of UK society, Britain's biggest companies have been given a four-year deadline to appoint one board member from an ethnic minority background. Only 85 of the 1,050 director positions in the FTSE 100 companies were held by people from ethnic minorities.

Those in the FTSE 100 have until 2021 to end their all-white boardrooms, while those in the FTSE 250, have until 2024. While the target is voluntary, companies that fail to comply will have to explain themselves as to why they failed to make their board more diverse. With ethnic minorities making up 14% of the population but only accounting for 2% of director positions, it is time that the top companies in the UK act on this disparity.

Previous targets have been directed out before to FTSE 100 companies. Another four-year target had been adopted by the former Standard Chartered chief executive Mervyn Davies after his review in the number of women on boards. The goal, which was launched in 2011, set the goal for 25% of FTSE 100 boardroom room seats to be held by women by 2015. Recent reports in 2016 show that the goal was successful and women now make up 26% of the FTSE 100 boards.

In the past few months various studies have found that the racial gap for the top posts in the UK are overwhelmingly white. OBV own project ‘The Color of Power’ which was launched in September found that only 3.4% of the 1049 top posts were held by BME people.

Pathways to these top jobs in the UK for Britain's BME communities are almost non-existent. Also, last week, an audit released from the race disparity unit caught the eye of Prime Minister Theresa May who has vowed to face the “uncomfortable truths” that have been exposed after release of this audit. These studies are revealing the facts and truths of racial disparity and who truly wields power in the UK. The time now is to act following these studies and surveys and begin to make real change in our society, by making it more exclusive for everybody.

Zak Ott