30% of FTSE100 companies have women on the board, a number which slips slightly to 27.5%, for those in the FTSE250. However, among the FTSE350 it is just 15% of companies. So, what is accounting for the drop off in female and BAME representation outside of the country’s biggest businesses?
Carmichael Fisher Executive Search were privileged to have the fantastic Jan Gooding, Chair of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity, Stonewall, talking through her experiences and taking questions from our audience at our recent Diversity and Inclusion event.
From my own point of view, I have come to the conclusion that we are focusing far too much on gender. You may think that’s an odd thing for me to say but the pace of change has been glacial, it’s ridiculous.
So, my view is, an actually when I took on my job I spoke to a lot of the people I admired at Goldman Sachs, Facebook, the banks, who are really good at diversity and inclusion, to a man and a woman they said to me: “If I had my time again I wouldn’t focus on gender. The big mistake we made was saying let’s get gender right, let’s do the obvious thing…”
We all say what’s the top three, focus, focus. It’s the opposite. If we had talked more about… anything! Disability, age discrimination, if you focus on creating an inclusive culture, particularly on BAME, we’re a disgrace. We are a disgrace on BAME.
So, if we focus on an inclusive culture, what do we mean by that? How do we allow people to be themselves at work so they’re contributing fully and properly, everything they have to bring in, we will get diversity.
Instead of which we’ve been chasing gender. We’ve got to chase an inclusive culture, really question what we’re doing and then we’ll get the diversity. The reason all those companies are not making progress on gender is because they don’t want to.
Continue the conversation
Diversity and inclusion is not just about numbers. It should be about bringing in professionals with a variety of cultures, background and experiences to challenge and change the status quo and help your company explore new products and markets. Hiring the right talent becomes increasingly important in today’s globalised business environment, where companies must navigate differences between languages, cultures and customs.
For a confidential conversation about your executive hiring challenges, feel free to connect with me directly here.