Today (the 17th September 2014) the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has released updates to the UK Corporate Governance Code – with a significant inclusion of ‘and race’ within the preface to the 2014 Code and for consultation for the 2016 Code. The FRC now clearly defines diversity as ‘gender and race’ and specifically references the importance of diversity at board level as a means of ‘establishing tone from the top’ to influence corporate culture, value and business strategy.
Sandra Kerr OBE, Race for Opportunity Director at Business in the Community, said: “We fully welcome that the FRC believes diversity should encompass ‘gender and race’ for its 2016 consultation.
“Including this small yet significant amendment will be a clear and strong signal to UK employers that the FRC understands the importance of employers embracing diversity across race as well as gender.
“ Including this small yet significant amendment will be a clear and strong signal to UK employers that the FRC understands the importance of employers embracing diversity across race as well as gender ”
“Currently one in four young people in both primary and secondary education is from an ethnic minority background, and by 2050 one in three of the working age population will be from an ethnic minority background. Organisations need to build race and gender diversity into their succession plans now to future proof for the rapidly changing demographic of diverse customers, clients and communities. Amending the UK Corporate Governance Code to include ‘and race’ would go a long way in encouraging organisations to adapt to an evolving marketplace.
“We hope that this positive move from the FRC is acknowledged by the main political parties as they enter Party Conference season and look to refining their manifestos ahead of the 2015 election.
“This is a great result for our Race at the Top report, which we launched in June this year revealing that the gap of BAME people in senior leadership had widened between 2008 and 2012 in the private and public sectors. Race at the Top led to a positive conversation with the FRC around the consultation and we look forward to being part of the process over the coming years.”
Adrian Joseph, Director, Customer Solutions and Innovation, Google and Chair of Race for Opportunity, said:
“This announcement from the FRC is huge news from an establishment that has the ability to effect fundamental change in how organisations operate. Currently there are too few ethnic minorities in prominent leadership positions across the majority of sectors in this country – and this is under-reflective of the number of ethnic minorities in work. Yet it is vital to have role models to help raise aspirations of our young ethnic minority people who are going to be a part of our economic future. Giving them aspiration and hope has never been more important.”