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Groundbreaking new study reveals public sector less diverse than private

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, commissioned by executive recruitment consultancy Green Park, maps the gender and ethno-cultural diversity of selected board and executiveleaders 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 Leadership10,000 survey of FTSE 100 companies, thereby allowing benchmarking comparison between the sectors.

Key findings include:

&middot         TherearevirtuallynoemployeesofBlackorChinese/OtherAsianoriginin the top four grades within the Civil Service.  And, more generally ethnic minoritiesareunder-representedinthesenior civil service roles,relativeto thepopulation atlarge,byafactorofsixtoone.

&middot         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.

&middot         Ethnic diversityinlocalauthorityleadershipissolowthatitalmostdefiesanalysis there isjustone non-WhitelocalauthorityCEOinLondonandnone amongsttheeight “CoreCities”outsideLondon.

&middot         Thereislessethnicdiversityinpublic sectorleadershipacrosstheUKthanin theFTSE100eventhemostdiverseareaofBritain–London–hasalowerproportionof visibleminorityexecutivesthantheFTSE100.

&middot         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.

&middot         Ethnic minorities areunder-representedin leadershiproles intheUK’scharitiessectorbyafactorof almostfourtoone,andinthisrespect the sectorisevenlessdiversethantheFTSE100.

&middot         Comparedtothegendermakeupofboththepopulation atlargeandtheCivilService itself,theseniorranksofgovernmentdepartmentsdisplayagenderdeficitofalmosttwo to one, i.e. there are just over half the number of women in senior roles as there should betoachievegenderparity.

&middot         The best performing government departments for gender diversity are the Education and Health, with the worst two the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence.

&middot         Although gender diversity is better generally in the public sector than the private sector, women appear just asunlikely to break through the glassceilingtothetoppublic jobs as they are to the top FTSE 100 roles.

&middot         Women who aspire to top jobs have far better prospects in county councils than they do in urban authorities.

&middot         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.

&middot         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 insomewaybythetaxpayer. Because of this they carrya responsibility to engage the widestpossible range of individualsaspossible,aboveallintheirleadershipandgovernance.

"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, “Thepaltryrepresentationofethno-culturalminorities at the top levels ofthe public and voluntary sectorsisnotjustdisappointingitisalarming,giventhatthere appearstobenochangeinthepipeline. 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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