5 March, 2024

Foreword By Sir Trevor Phillips - Business Leaders Index 2024

Green Park Business Leaders Index 2024 - FTSE 350

Foreword by Sir Trevor Phillips - Chair | Green Park

It is a decade since we first published data on the diversity of the UK’s corporate leadership.

We have always believed in the moral case for social justice but we are a commercial business and for us, it is the logic of the market that underpins our passion for diversity and its necessary partner in the workplace, inclusion. The morality of Sunday morning (or whatever day of worship you choose) has never been sufficient for us; it is the hard fact and analysis of Monday morning that has always led us to invest in the search of the diversity dividend.

We first launched this index in 2014. Our aim then, as now, was to help bring the rigour of a scientific approach to the understanding of business performance, by detailed evidence on the composition of our top executives and senior leaders. Our belief was then, and still is, that while sex and ethnicity are not in themselves fundamental to better leadership, they are excellent proxies for the variety of experience and outlook vital to healthy, growing businesses.

Over that period, the picture has changed significantly. There are more women leaders, more people from ethnic minorities in senior positions and a less anaemic pipeline of future bosses from different backgrounds. Much of the change has come from the efforts of enterprises  themselves determined to improve their standing in the eyes of both employees and potential hires, particularly the young. But far more has been driven by companies hungry for organic growth, fuelled by the abilities of individuals they would previously never have considered for top jobs.

“ Success does not come from hoping for better outcomes; it follows determined, intentional evidence-based action.”

We welcome the change. We know that it’s real, because our clients tell us that hiring from the larger pool of talent we offer accelerates their recruitment, improves their retention and raises executive capability. In a tight labour market, attention to diversity and inclusion has proven to be crucial to getting the best performance out of the most talented people. The trauma of COVID forced many to think afresh; and the prompting of government supported initiatives – the FTSE Women Leaders Review (previously known as Hampton-Alexander Review) and Parker Review in particular – have galvanised many.

All that said, the picture remains patchy. Some sectors have embraced change and sought it actively. Others have remained passive, assuming that things will change organically. They don’t. We believe that our businesses will benefit from a clear picture of where we are succeeding and where we are failing; as in every other part of our businesses, good data is the foundation of good policy. And success does not come from just hoping for better outcomes; it follows determined, intentional evidence based action.

Diversity and inclusion, of course, remain topics of controversy. Much of the argument is based on poor understanding; for example, the widespread and wholly incorrect belief that decisions in American courts have an effect on British workplaces. Some of the debates about diversity, however, are more valid; it is right, for example, to question whether every programme or idea that has been attempted worked as well as it might have. Almost certainly not – but we need to understand the reasons why.

That is why at Green Park we are working with others, supporting the Parker Review and other campaigns to bring a scientific and rational approach to change. We are investing in further technology to ensure that in everything we do, we turn the growing diversity of our workplaces into a benefit rather than a burden. This year’s Business Leaders Index, the largest such survey ever conducted in the UK, is just one part of our contribution.


The Green Park Business Leaders Index 2024 - FTSE 350 is a review of the composition of the UK’s most senior leadership, through the lens of gender and ethnocultural diversity.

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