Diversity is Failing UK Business

By Steve Taggart

A recent report released by Green Park has revealed that the number of FTSE 100 executive directors of ethnic minority has dropped from six to four in the past year. Researchers carrying out the study from Green Park have identified this extreme imbalance as a so-called ‘diversity deficit’, which may come to some as a dramatic revelation after Business Secretary Vince Cable cautioned that companies must drive to deliver a diverse boardroom by the end of 2015.

However despite the governments push for change the FTSE 100 has lost the equivalent of nearly 40 of its non-white leaders within the past 12 months, with no ethnic Chinese or Asian directors despite the increasing importance of Asian economies. The decline has been marked as a ‘pipeline’ to Top Leadership level, clearly showing that rather than increasing minority leadership opportunities, the sector has been decreasing. Suggesting that the prospects for minorities are not available.

“We know that Chinese and Asian groups form the single most successful educational demographic in the UK, and has done for quite some time,” said Raj Tulsiani, chief executive of Green Park Group.

“Big companies need to ask themselves, why are they not drawing on this group’s talent and insights to help provide a competitive edge in targeting important markets for growth?”

The results are concerning as the UK is finally emerging from the economic crisis and finding success in the rising profiles of the tech and digital sectors. Britain’s most important firms are putting the UK’s companies at a serious disadvantage in domestic and global markets.

Whilst the gender gap of women on board level is now showing a steady increase, the research clearly shows that following the government-backed initiative by Lord Davies, women are now occupying top leadership roles, but there is something of a mountain to climb when it comes to encouraging businesses to utilise the talent pools of ethnic minorities.

China, Korea, Indonesia and Japan are a few of the biggest and fastest growing markets on a global scale, so it is shocking to see that there not a single Chinese or East Asian executive director within the FTSE 100.

As the UK’s Capital is soon set to go through dramatic infrastructure improvements with the implementation of faster broadband speeds and connectivity maps, London alone will soon be flooded with international businesses who will be at a more competitive advantage due to their diverse background. It’s now clearly a time for the top firms to re-access their talent management.

Diversity brings real value to business; people of different outlooks, experience and culture can all bring something new to the table. It’s not a cosmetic change that can happen overnight, but a change that must show progress and development. Companies must now take action to refocus their methods of recruitment during executive searches and increase diversity.

The FTSE 100 is never without controversy, but this is one element that has to change in order for the UK to be seen as a global leader in business.

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