Last week (Wednesday 6 February) the newly updated figures published by the Parker Review revealed that 37% of FTSE 100 companies did not have any ethnic minority representation on their boards. The report, published by Sir John Parker, EY and the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), was based on voluntary data from 83 FTSE 100 companies.
Amongst the key findings was some good news, with the number of FTSE 100 boards with no ethnic minorities falling to below 50% for the first time since 2017. However, there is still cause for concern as only six ethnic minority directors in the FTSE 100 and nine in the FTSE 250 are either Chair or CEO.
The report suggested that while there was some great work being done by some executive search firms in introducing clients to top talent from ethnic minority backgrounds, other executive firms were struggling. According to the report, part of this failure was due to search firms using old, traditional methods of headhunting and not adopting more progressive practices. The report suggested that executive search firms need to be more proactive in ‘marketing’ highly talented ethnic minority candidates.
For FTSE 100 companies to hit the ‘One by 2021’ target of having one BAME person on a board in the next two years as recommended by the Review in 2017, executive search firms will be under more and more pressure from their clients to revise their headhunting practices and secure more diverse candidates. Search firms who will be able to show expertise in this area will gain a competitive edge and those who can’t will undoubtedly lose out on business.
For some executive search firms there are a number of barriers – mainly GDPR and general candidate shortages – preventing them from presenting clients with more candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds. To support executive search firms our Association of Executive Recruiters (AER) sector group have publishing a Best Practice Guide to share tips on how to help source diverse candidates. This year the AER group will also be looking at how government data protection policies can help or hinder executive search firms from accessing top ethnic minority talent. If you are an REC member and would like to become involved with the AER, the next meeting is on 19 May 2020 – members can sign up to attend for free here.
The REC continues to work with the Parker Review Board and BEIS to examine how the executive search community can be better supported to deliver the One by 2021 target. We are also continuing to work with BEIS to highlight and share good practice from executive search firms. If you have manged to source good minority ethnic candidates and are interested in sharing your case studies please do get in touch.