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17 January 2019
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Business minister Margot James © Chris McAndrew

7 September 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Business minister Margot James has urged the UK’s largest companies to increase transparency about the diversity of their workforce ahead of the first meeting of the new Business Diversity and Inclusion Group.

The group was set up to coordinate action to increase diversity and inclusion in business and build on the work of a number of government-backed reviews led by senior business leaders into workplace diversity.


James says the group will seek to establish what information listed companies could disclose to help tackle barriers in the workplace.


This comes a week after the government put forward proposals for listed companies to increase transparency about their diversity policies, targets and progress towards those targets, as part of its corporate governance reforms.


The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which sets high standards of governance for listed firms through the UK Corporate Governance Code, will consider the government’s proposals as part of a review of its code later this year.


James said: “Being open and transparent about the diversity of workforces is effective in bringing about cultural change – helping to remove barriers in the workplace from the shop floor to the boardroom.


“So I am calling on our largest companies to lead from the front and promote greater inclusion in their workplaces by increasing transparency about their diversity policies, targets and progress.”


All reviews have set targets to improve diversity in the workplace including aiming for 33 per cent of FTSE 350 board positions to be filled by women by 2020, all FTSE 350 firms to have at least one director from an ethnic minority by 2021, and for all companies with more than 50 employees to publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay band.