Green Park release Public Service Leadership 5,000 report
Groundbreaking new study reveals public sector less diverse than private
A groundbreaking new survey into the diversity of staff working in the top 5,000 leadership roles within the public and voluntary sectors reveals that ethnic minorities and women remain significantly under-represented. Strikingly, the statistics also reveal that despite the legal obligation on public bodies to promote equality and diversity in their staff, their performance is actually worse in many areas than FTSE 100 companies.
The Green Park Public Service Leadership 5,000 survey, carried out by executive recruitment consultancy Green Park, maps the gender and ethno-cultural diversity of selected board and executive leaders in public organisations and charities. The first and largest survey of its kind, it breaks down public service leadership by gender, ethnicity and cultural background, and analyses the top two layers of leadership. It follows the publication earlier this year of the Green Park Leadership 10,000 survey of FTSE 100 companies, thereby allowing benchmarking comparison between the sectors.
Key findings include:
- There are virtually no employees of Black or Chinese/Other Asian origin in the top four grades within the Civil Service. And, more generally ethnic minorities are under-represented in the senior civil service roles, relative to the population at large, by a factor of six to one.
- The Department for International Development and the Treasure perform best on ethnic diversity in leadership roles, while the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Department for Communities and Local Government are amongst the worst.
- Ethnic diversity in local authority leadership is so low that it almost defies analysis; there is just one non-White local authority CEO in London and none amongst the eight “Core Cities” outside London.
- There is less ethnic diversity in public sector leadership across the UK than in the FTSE 100; even the most diverse area of Britain – London – has a lower proportion of visible minority executives than the FTSE 100.
- Of the 268 people in leadership roles in the most prominent public bodies outside government and local authorities – such as the Bank Of England, NHS England and the BBC, just six were non-white.
- Ethnic minorities are under-represented in leadership roles in the UK’s charities sector by a factor of almost four to one, and in this respect the sector is even less diverse than the FTSE 100.
- Compared to the gender make up of both the population at large and the Civil Service itself, the senior ranks of government departments display a gender deficit of almost two to one, i.e. there are just over half the number of women in senior roles as there should be to achieve gender parity.
- The best performing government departments for gender diversity are the Education and Health, with the worst two the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence.
- Although gender diversity is better generally in the public sector than the private sector, women appear just as unlikely to break through the glass ceiling to the top public jobs as they are to the top FTSE 100 roles.
- Women who aspire to top jobs have far better prospects in county councils than they do in urban authorities.
- Women leaders are least likely to be found in the most powerful functions - Chief Officer and Corporate Resources & Finance – and more likely in areas such as children’s services.
- The voluntary sector performs better than both the public and private sectors on gender diversity, however, as in those sectors, women are underrepresented at CEO level and just one in five chairs of charity boards is female.
Trevor Phillips, Chair of Green Park Diversity Analytics said:
“The organisations included in the Green Park Public Sector 5,000 all exist to serve the public and are supported in some way by the taxpayer. Because of this they carry a responsibility to engage the widest possible range of individuals as possible, above all in their leadership and governance.
While our research does find some encouraging trends, such as the presence of women at senior roles in non-urban local authorities, other areas are much more disappointing. However, the top levels of the public sector are even more “vanilla” than the senior levels of the UK’s top private sector companies. Bizarrely, London, the most diverse area of the country with a 40 per cent non-White population, shows a less diverse local authority leadership than the FTSE.
“It raises some serious questions for us if the leadership of public bodies looks less like Britain than private companies which are answerable only to their shareholders. How long will a diverse society put up with white men trousering more than their fair share of our taxes?”
Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park Group added:
“The paltry representation of ethno-cultural minorities at the top levels of the public and voluntary sectors is not just disappointing; it is alarming, given that there appears to be no change in the pipeline. I hope 2014’s Green Park Public Sector 5,000 spurs today’s Chairs and CEOs to think harder about who their successors might be and that they see diversity assured succession planning as a necessity. This will ensure the communities they serve are increasingly represented without compromising on quality.
“At Green Park we have the track record to help organisations class their diversity deficit through analysis, partnership and our expertise. The impetus to change however can only come from the organisation’s board and many are paralysed by analysis based on poor data.”
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