Ethnic diversity on company boards

Published: 7th Dec 2016

In brief

Claim

Less than 4% of board members in FTSE 150 companies are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. (That’s the 150 largest companies, by value, on the London Stock Exchange.)

Conclusion

About 5% of directors on FTSE 150 boards which are headquartered or mainly operational in the UK, western Europe, the US, or Australia are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Only 1.6% are British too, compared to about 13% of the UK population as a whole.

“The FTSE 150 has less than 4% of individuals from an ethnic minority on its boards. Will the government support a vision to help increase that by 10% to 2021?”

Rehman Chishti MP, 7 December 2016

The most recent UK Board Index report identified 73 out of  1454 directors from FTSE 150 companies headquartered or mainly operational in the UK, western Europe, the US, and Australia, as being from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

That’s about 5%, although the report added that it might not have been a comprehensive count.

Only 23 were also British citizens, so about 1.6% of the total.

Which is a much smaller proportion than in the UK population as a whole. 13% of the UK population were from black and minority ethnic backgrounds at the last census.

The data comes from Spencer Stuart, a headhunting company. It publishes an annual review of the boards of the largest 150 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr Chisti’s office told us that he was referring to Spencer Stuart’s 2015 report, which also estimated about 5% representation across company boards. Business Insider reports that it drops to 4% if you exclude companies based in “emerging market nations”, although we didn't find this figure in the report itself.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of Prime Minister's Questions. Read the roundup.


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