voice for inclusion

Making the case for diverse boards

Here we have distilled down a (non-exhaustive) list of key arguments for diverse boards, just in case you – or your board’s Chair or Nominations committee – need convincing.

key points
studies cited


1. Highly successful companies in the FTSE Index are diversifying their boards

  • Board diversity and effectiveness in the FTSE350 companies – a joint report from the FRS, SQW and LBS tracking the actual impact of increasing board diversity in the FTSE 350 (July 2021)
  • The Cranfield Management School’s Female FTSE Index charts the number of females on the boards of the UK’s top listed companies. As of 2021, over one third of the NEDs in FTSE100 firms are female.
  • The Parker Review examines the ethnic diversity on FTSE listed companies’ boards.  52 of the FTSE100 firms have at least one director of colour…. there is still clearly progress to be made to meet the target of all FTSE boards having at least one director of colour.

2. Companies with diverse boards are more profitable

3. Gender diverse boards correlate with less excessive risk-taking and business failure

4. Financial services regulators are encouraging diversity on boards

  • FCA to look at diversity when assessing firms reports the FTAdviser (2020)
  • Our article “How to use the revised FRC guidance to push for open recruitment on *your* board” looked at key 2018 revisions to Financial Reporting Council guidance.

5. Shareholders and institutional investors are increasingly positive about diversity, or even demanding it

6. There’s an increasing reputational risk in a lack of diversity, with customers and staff

7. Any additional care taken over selection of NEDs should generate a strong return on investment, given the value of an effective board to organisational effectiveness and resilience

8. What is there to lose?

How to recruit for diversity

Women on Boards UK’s practical suggestions on how to change your recruitment process to ‘turn on the floodlights’ to the broadest pool of top talent

Book by academic researcher Iris Bohnet, published by Harvard Univerity Press 2016

Further reading …