More than a third of the UK's largest listed companies are likely to miss a target to have at least one director from an ethnic minority by 2021, a government-backed review has revealed.
Progress on the Parker Review recommendations, to appoint a least one non-white director by 2021 for the FTSE 100, and at least one non-white director by 2024 for the FTSE 250 has left "much more to do", according to Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom.
Nearly 40% of FTSE 100 have companies failed to appoint a non-white board member with almost 70% of FTSE 250 companies failing to meet the recommendation.
In addition, there is a concentration of directors of colour in a small number of companies. Almost a quarter of the directors of colour come from eight companies.
Sir John Parker, Chairman of the Parker Review Committee, said: “Although progress has been made to increase the representation of ethnic minorities on FTSE boards in the UK, there is still much more work to be done to reap the undeniable benefits that diverse leadership provides.
"Ethnic diversity needs to be given the same level of board room focus that finally led to increasing female representation on boards, which has seen real progress in recent years.
“To remain competitive in the global market, UK businesses must focus further on the recommendations in the report, increasing alignment of the Board with its customer base at home and overseas. They must also address the key challenges of recruiting board talent now and in the future, recognising the significant demographic changes taking place in the UK and international markets in favour of ethnically diverse candidates. Action is needed to bring about long-term change.”
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said in the report: “Research shows that diverse businesses are the highest performing businesses. And at this hugely exciting time in Britain’s history, we need to make sure that UK businesses are tapping into all the talent and skills available at home and overseas more than ever, driving better company performance and supporting our competitive advantage in the world.”
Research released by diversity and inclusion organisation, INvolve, also found that of the major indices of the UK, US and Canada, only 5% of the CEOs are from an ethnic minority background and none of these countries have women CEOs who are from an ethnic minority.