Finance firms including BlackRock Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are pushing companies around the world to hire more directors from diverse backgrounds in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, whose death sparked global social justice protests.
The Investment Association, whose members manage more than 8.5 trillion pounds ($11.9 trillion) of assets, has joined the call for more people of color on U.K. boards, saying companies now need to reflect the country’s make-up. The IA has an all-white board.
The Parker Review set a target in 2017 for each company in the benchmark to have at least one director from an ethnic minority background by the end of this year.
“Significant progress” has been made toward meeting that goal despite the pandemic, Sir John Parker, chairman of the Parker Review Committee, said in a statement on Friday. About 20% of companies had no ethnic minorities on their boards as of March, compared with about one in two in January 2020.
“We would hope the remaining companies in the FTSE 100, who still have time to meet the target, will ensure they follow this encouraging lead and align with the business case that underpins the review,” he said.
More than 40% of London residents identified as being either Asian, Black, Mixed or Other ethnic group in the 2011 census. For the U.K., the number was 14%.