Last reviewed 15 October 2020

Companies including Aviva, Brunswick, Deloitte and Microsoft are working with the CBI to launch Change the Race Ratio — a campaign to increase racial and ethnic participation in British businesses.

The campaign is calling for businesses to set and publish clear targets for greater racial and ethnic diversity at the Board and ExCo (executive committee) level. They will be invited to become signatories to the campaign, which will launch officially at the end of October.

The organisers note that the recommendations of the Parker Review into ethnic diversity in UK Boards, published in 2016, have seen little progress. At the beginning of 2020, an update to the Review revealed that more than a third (37%) of FTSE 100 companies surveyed still did not have any ethnic minority representation on their boards.

Change the Race Ratio aims to put that right and accelerate progress towards more inclusive and diverse British businesses.

CBI President Lord Karan Bilimoria explained: “The time has come for a concerted campaign on racial and ethnic participation in business leadership. Progress has been painfully slow. We want to do for racial and ethnic diversity what the 30% Club has done so successfully for gender equality.”

Firms must set clear and stretching targets, he went on, and publish them within 12 months of making a commitment to the campaign.

They should publish a clear action plan to achieve the targets and share progress in the company’s annual report or on its website. In addition, they must disclose ethnicity pay gaps by 2022, at the latest.

It is important, the CBI stressed, that an inclusive culture should be created in which talent from all diversities can thrive, focusing on recruitment and talent development processes to drive a more diverse pipeline of candidates.

Comment by Peninsula Associate Director of Advisory Kate Palmer

Changing times call for changing workplace strategies.

The impact of growing interest in a diverse and inclusive workplace will likely mean that employers, globally as well as nationally, put more effort into weeding out any unconscious biases in their recruitment processes so as to allow for the best talent to join the workplace, regardless of race.

This Change the Race Ratio initiative may just be the thing to move employers forward in the “race” to improve diversity in the workplace.