Getting Minorities On Corporate Boards: More Work Ahead

Getting Minorities On Corporate Boards: More Work Ahead 500 500 C-Suite Network

By Jill Griffin – Author of the new book, Earn Your Seat On a Corporate Board

New York Times reporter, Elizabeth Olson, shares stats that reflect the “still lagging” indicators on efforts to diversify America’s corporate boards.

Here’s a few highlights from her insightful “Barriers to Boards” article:

·     While 399 new directors were selected for top company boards last year, Hispanics claimed only 16 seats.  This, while Hispanics comprise 17 percent of the overall U.S. population.

·     In comparison, there are slight increases in African American representation, but a decline in the number of Asians and Asian-Americans selected to fill board seats.

·     While the percentage of new women directors has risen each year, sources say the projection that women can reach parity with men in the number of new directors by 2024 has been projected downward.  Now, 2026 is the projected year.

Bonnie W. Gwin, a co-managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles executive recruitment global C.E.O. and board practice, reports the biggest entry obstacle for minorities is the lack of operating or financial experience.

For example, the dearth of Hispanic board members appears to originate largely from the shortage of Hispanic chief executives, reports Cid C. Wilson, Chief Executive of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility.  The bleak statistic is that only nine Hispanics currently serve as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, while the U.S. has the second-largest Spanish-speaking population in world, second only to Mexico.

The pipeline of talented, board-ready minorities needs to be filled.  Hispanics, African Americans, and women need to be nurtured as general managers, finance execs and operational leaders.

The push to get more diversity in boardrooms is still a steep hill to climb.

But make no mistake about it:

Diversified corporate boards help CEOs build cultures that engage employees and, in turn, ignite the customer loyalty necessary for driving corporate revenue.

Follow Jill Griffin on Twitter