Ethnic diversity in leadership pipeline within FTSE 100 companies increases to five per cent, the highest level for four years

A new study1 from Green Park shows the leadership pipeline, supplying the highest tier of management in FTSE 100 companies, features the highest level of ethnic minority talent in four years. Progress is being made with ethnic minorities moving up the management funnel, though at five percent of those in the pipeline it still is not a fair representation of British society.

While the pipeline is improving there remains a question over whether minorities can break through the glass ceiling, as the top roles in companies remain a closed shop for ethnic minority and female leaders. There has been a decrease of 18% in the number of ethnic minorities holding positions at Chair, CEO and CFO level in FTSE 100 companies.

Almost six in 10 (58%) main boards in the FTSE100 currently have no ethnic minority presence. This is a slight improvement on the 62 companies that recorded all-white main boards in last year’s report. Yet it calls into question whether the target set in Sir John Parker’s consultation document that no FTSE board should remain mono-racial by 2020 will be met.

There remains no female ethnic minority CEO or CFO in the FTSE 100 and women still only hold 6% of the top 300 jobs. Looking at the ethnicity of the 21 Chair, CEO and CFO positions held by women in the FTSE, 20 are white. White women are twice as likely to reach the top three positions in a FTSE 100 company compared to an ethnic minority male and 20 times more likely than an ethnic minority female.

The Green Park Leadership 10,000 report analyses the backgrounds of those holding the top 20 leadership roles within FTSE100 companies including CEOs, CFOs and Chairmen. It also analyses the next 100 senior roles to identify the future management pipeline. It reveals that despite a net average increase in diversity over last year’s report, there remains a glass ceiling stopping talented minority candidates reaching the upper echelons of management and worryingly, previous progress and momentum are starting to reverse.

Positive advancement

Green Park’s analysis also looked at the firms that were out performing the rest of the FTSE100 in terms of diversity. InterContinental Hotels Group plc is the top performing FTSE 100 company in Green Park’s rankings for gender and ethnic diversity, followed by Standard Chartered plc and Unilever plc.

The companies that came in at top were InterContinental Hotels Group, Standard Chartered  and Unilever.


Baroness McGregor-Smith CBE, Vice-chair of DRIVE (Green Park’s social enterprise) and author of ‘Race in the workplace: The McGregor-Smith review’2 commented:

“Despite the Leadership 10,000 report showing that every industry in the FTSE100 still needs to do better with proportional diversity, the findings provide actionable baseline data for the index to improve their leadership’s diversity, moving them closer to achieving the diversity dividend.

“This report’s data paints a clear picture of current-state diversity across the index and can be used to pro-actively take diversity conversations to the boards of our leading companies to show minority communities that they are a priority to the companies they work for.”







Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.