Parker Review calls on FTSE to move 'Beyond one by 2021'

The government-backed review led by Sir John Parker sets target for at least one non-white board member on all FTSE 100 by 2021.

Last week, Sir John Parker launched his significant report on ethnic diversity on UK boards by challenging FTSE 100 Board Chairman to have at least one Board member of colour by 2021. As with the Davies Review on gender, he has given five years to get there and a little longer for the other FTSE companies.

The morning launch event hosted at EY brought together leading figures across business, academia, government and influential campaign groups. Of the comments from the floor, two sang out and we will have to see if they are reflected in this week's Hamilton-Alexander report on the gender pipeline. The impact of Davies was that there was no pressure on Company Chairman to challenge their CEOs to achieve the same at Executive Board level as they had for Non-Executives Directors. Peter Reichwald, founder of Harvey Nash's Engage network made the comment back to the panel that KPIs for CEOs is essential if we want to see a real improvement to the pipeline. He said further, "We have moved on beyond Gender and the KPIs need to be for Inclusiveness, which includes ethnicity."

The Non-Executive pipeline can only be filled if the widest diversity of thought is brought up through the ranks. Senior managers who recruit with their own KPI objectives in mind need to be encouraged to take risks in appointing to their management team in order to bring diversity of thought through. There is, Parker confirmed, a commercial imperative for businesses to reflect the business's partner and client base. Those of colour also need to see themselves at the top or they will leave for where they will feel more welcomed.

Sir John has started the pressure and the government now needs to ensure that the volume is kept high to achieve the best for the bottom line of UK plc.

We were delighted to see that our findings from the Ethnicity Gap survey was used as supportive evidence (p32) of the barriers faced by ethnic minorities in the workplace and to raise awareness amongst the business community of areas to improve upon if diversity is to flourish.