Around 50 retailers have signed up to a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) charter led by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) as recent data shows the lack of women on boards and very few black or ethnic minority leaders.
The companies, including Ann Summers, Reiss, John Lewis, KFC, Pret a Manger, Ted Baker (TED.L) and Superdry (SDRY.L), have promised to take action to increase diversity practices across their industry. Their plan includes appointing diversity and inclusion executives; improving recruitment practices to remove bias; and collecting data on diversity.
“Retail revolves around the customer, and to serve the needs of a diverse country, we need a diversity of ideas, experiences and backgrounds across our businesses, said by BRC chief Helen Dickinson. She added, “The first step to achieving change is acknowledgement and understanding of where the challenges lie. Now, we must act.”
The MBS Group and PwC showed that more work is needed to create a fully diverse and equitable retail industry, a recent report by the BRC.
15% have no women on their executive committees, and the study found that more than one in five retailers have no women at all on their boards.
Some 69% of retailers have an all-male CEO, CFO and chair. Only 9.6% of the industry’s CEOs are women and only 4.3% of the sector’s chairs are women.
According to the report, only 4.5% of boards, 5.8% of executive committees and 6% of direct reports to boards are from an ethnic minority background, compared to 12.5% of the UK population.
A majority (84%) of retailers say that D&I is a priority, but less than half (49%) of employees agree that it is sufficiently high up their employers’ agenda.
All (100%) D&I strategies in retail firms look at gender, 90% look at race and ethnicity and 68% look at LGBTQ+, but only half look at disability, and less than a quarter cover social mobility (20%) or age (23%).
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said, unless they improve diversity on their board of directors and amongst their employees, financial companies in the UK are facing a regulatory crackdown.
It is considering making it a requirement for companies who wish to list in Britain to meet diversity standards, said by the UK’s financial watchdog.
Some of the UK’s biggest companies in the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) have yet to appoint a single member of any ethnic background to their boards, a report from earlier this month found that.
The Parker Review showed that out of 100 of Britain’s best-known firms, 16 companies, including the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG.L), International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.L) and BAE Systems (BA.L) have all-white boards.