Earlier this month, luxury giant, LVMH boasted that it was on course to hit their target of 40% female representation among its executives. Such a boast instantaneously brought about a variety of feelings.
On the one hand, I was pleased to see the focus given to female representation among executives as this is a far truer representation of the shattering of the glass ceiling than looking at overall board figures. Overall board figures are often clouded by a stark contrast in female representation among Non-Executive Directors when compared with the rest of the firm – a problem occurring entirely due to the fact that it is far easier to appoint Non-Executives than to critique one’s own models of diversity aware succession planning (it is the archetypal quick fix).
Optimism aside, such a story almost seems blasé in the current climate where gender diversity is as vogue as the £1000 coat that I am currently wearing (metaphorically). One wonders if firms are missing the point of gender diversity within the executive level by utilising it more as a publicity tool than as a method for commercial business advantage. I would be pleased to see more coverage of ethnic diversity at executive level as this is an area in which Green Park has showed the retail sector to be far from market leaders and therefore an area in which significant competitive advantage can be achieved.
But only part of the onus can lie with individual firms. Gender diversity campaigns bring a degree of positive publicity which is simply not present with ethnic diversity campaigns (due to the immediate uneasiness which tends to arise when the subject is brought up).
Hopefully, this blog can go some way to introducing ethnic diversity to the conversation such that it can become an issue which garners the same level of positive publicity as gender diversity. Ethnic diversity is not ‘in’ this season but perhaps it will be at some point in the New Year.
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