Being a representative: exploring Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in board representation in large UK companies

Project Details


This research project aims to investigate the challenges and opportunities for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in leadership on the Boards of large UK companies (ie FTSE 100). Large companies are global, their senior leadership should be diverse and inclusive. The UK Corporate Governance Code (2018) recommends that companies should ‘promote’ and ‘value’ diversity, suggesting an annual evaluation of the Board to consider its composition and diversity, requiring the annual report of a company to comment on their policy on diversity and inclusion. Recent reports have recommended this with targets such as ‘one by ‘21’ (Parker Review, 2017). The update of this review reported 74 FTSE 100 companies had ethnic representation on their boards (November, 2020), compared to 52 in January 2020 with improved attempts to meet the target of ‘Beyond one by 21’ for FTSE 100 companies (Parker Review, 2020). The survey noted that only 124 (12%) of the 998 board positions, in FTSE 100 companies that responded to the survey, are held by 118 ethnic minority directors (compared to 95 directors in 2020 (EY, 2020)). It is clear that whilst companies may find one representative for their Board, many are not promoting more than that. Our research aims to investigate, and to ascertain whether there are any significant differences for the rest of the FTSE 250 companies.
The research will take a mixed method approach, with quantitative analysis to investigate representation on the board of FTSE 250 companies. The research team will carry out qualitative research in the form of in-depth interviews of FTSE 100 representatives on boards to seek their experience of EDI issues, barriers and challenges and to explore suggestions for opportunities.
Effective start/end date1/04/2331/03/25