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More minorities and women get seats on boards

Two thirds of FTSE 350 companies have at least one board member from an ethnically diverse background, new data has found, with more representation among the biggest companies.

Research from Thomson Reuters Practical Law found that 66 per cent of companies who have chosen to disclose their board composition have some degree of ethnic diversity, up from 45 per cent last year.

The research found that FTSE 100 companies have better ethnic representation, with 84 per cent reporting at least one board member from a diverse background compared with 55 per cent in the FTSE 250. Overall, 268 companies of the 350 reported their figures.

Since 2021, companies listed on the FTSE 100 are required to have at least one director of colour on their boards. FTSE 250 companies should meet the target by 2024.

The report also found a small increase in gender representation at director level, with 40 per cent of directorships at FTSE 100 companies held by women, up from 39 per cent in 2021.

At the board level, all FTSE 100 companies now have at least two female members. For smaller FTSE 250 companies, 36 per cent of total board positions are held by women, up from 32 per cent in 2021 and 30 per cent in 2020.

Within the FTSE 100, Diageo, Shell, Auto Trader, Admiral and Phoenix had majority female boards and another eight companies had a 50-50 split.

A new government review this year has recommended that FTSE 350 businesses meet a voluntary target to have 40 per cent female representation in leadership positions by the end of 2025.

Smaller companies listed on the AIM 50 have only 20 per cent of board roles occupied by women.

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