Help us improve ethnic diversity in UK boardrooms

In November last year, the Parker Review into ethnic diversity on boards concluded the first phase of its work and published recommendations.
 
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How can we make all-white FTSE boards a thing of the past by 2021?

Earlier this month, the REC’s Association of Executive Recruiters (AER) met with Sir John Parker, former Chairman of Anglo-American and David Tyler, Chairman of Sainsbury’s, to discuss this challenge.  

In November last year, the Parker Review into ethnic diversity on boards concluded the first phase of its work and published recommendations. They are now seeking to turn these aspirations into reality and it’s clear that executive search firms have a key role to play.

The REC is bringing the industry together to review the voluntary code for executive search firms, building on our activities to promote gender equality in senior roles. This new initiative is part of our broader inclusion agenda including boosting opportunities for older workers and disabled people.

Clients need practical support

It’s a big ask – UK citizen BME Directors make up only 1.5 per cent of the total director population – but the business case for tackling this is stronger than ever.

UK businesses need to respond to demographic shifts to ensure they continue to be relevant to their customer base.

As Sir John outlined, UK businesses need to respond to demographic shifts to ensure they continue to be relevant to their customer base. He also highlighted how increasing diversity has been shown to improve decision making and brand value.

While the business benefits are well documented, taking action remains a challenge for businesses. The Parker Review is hoping to address this through its “Employer toolkit” which AER members are helping to craft.

Search firms have a key role

Whether it’s challenging clients to think differently about how they recruit or encouraging candidates to take the plunge, search firms can make a difference.

AER members stressed the importance of embedding Good Recruitment principles at all levels, and recognised the need for search firms to continue growing their candidate pool. Search firms also highlighted the impact of data protection rules on the search process. This is something REC and AER will take forward with government officials.

Have your say on the voluntary code for search firms

In recognition of the key role of executive search firms, Sir John and David have asked us to bring the industry together to review the voluntary code for executive search firms, which was first developed in response to the Lord Davies review into women on boards.

We look forward to building on these foundations and ensuring our industry is at the forefront of this drive to improve ethnic diversity in UK businesses.

The AER is holding a meeting to begin work on the review of the code on 14 March from 10:30 – 12:00. If you would like to contribute, please get in touch with Karen O’Reilly. 

This entry was posted on Monday, February 27th, 2017 by:

Karen O'Reilly is the REC's Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Karen O’Reilly works with the policy team to represent the interests and concerns of  members to policymakers and stakeholders in a number of sectors including executive search, interim management, financial and legal services, HR and office support. She also works on cross-sectoral issues including employment tax and social mobility and inclusion policy. Prior to joining the REC, Karen worked at the British Chambers of Commerce.