Do You Consider Your Board To Be Diverse In Terms Of Their Socio-Economic Backgrounds?

Author:ICSA &nbsp
Profession:ICSA
 
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Our community looks at social diversity

Inspired by a report from the Equality Group which found that 21% of Londoners thought their class and background had been a professional disadvantage, and 26% had changed the way they speak to be more like the "Queen's English" we decided to see what The Chartered Governance Institute and Core communities think about socio-economic diversity within their organisations.

When asked about whether they considered their board to be diverse over two-thirds (67%) said that theirs was not. One responder stated that "Board members are all socio groups A and B mainly A. So many directors be they female, gay, ethnic or male have all been to the same unis, business schools, and sometimes the same companies. Boards in the main fear having an employee in the Board or even a Committee". Whilst another claimed that theirs had a "typical composition of 'pale-male-stale".

Which of the following does your company do – if any – when hiring?

Some questioned how easy it is to quantify stating that "It depends on what you mean by 'diverse'. We have a mix of privately and state educated board members. However all are degree educated with most in STEM subjects. All come from middle class to upper middle class backgrounds. All are now in top socio economic group" and another "I believe this is a really tricky challenge for the Board - as an example - when is that socio-economic background measured? On appointment or in formative years? I presume the latter. But even then, how does one view someone from an underprivileged background, state school but achieved academically and went to Oxbridge and has for thirty years been a high achiever?"

Our responders all felt that increased diversity was a good thing, highlighting that diverse boards brings "a diverse workforce brings diverse thinking and leads to diverse solutions to challenges" and "[an] ability to better...

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