Corporate Diversity: Is the Leadership Pipeline Balanced or Broken?

Updated: Sep 14

Talent is the lifeblood of progressive, successful organisations. The importance of diversity and inclusion across the leadership talent cannot be understated.

It helps to establish, and advance, the development of innovative products and services through enhanced creativity and the diversity of ideas and experience.

Developing diverse and inclusive companies is paramount for securing a range of business benefits that enhance productivity, motivation and a range of other positives.

Diversity and Inclusion is integral to talent pipeline

Talent Acquisition leaders understand the need to attract highly talented candidates to enable best in class results.

Countless studies show that increased diversity, at both team and leadership level, mean better business results.

In the UK, latest figures show that of a Black and Ethnic total population percentage of 14%, only 6% of top management positions are held by individuals from this group. There are only 6 Black or ethnic CEO's across the FTSE 100 index of leading companies.

Similarly, women represented only 7 positions at CEO level across the FTSE 100 index, as at June 2018.

Reports suggest that diversity is lacking within the senior leadership levels of UK corporate organisations. This is incongruous, with the fact that the talent pipeline suggests that there are indeed, suitable candidates, across industries, that can readily fill these positions.

There is no doubt that there remains, either a lack of understanding, at best, or an unwillingness, at worst, to create meaningfully diverse leadership.

Is Diverse Leadership Really Seen as a 'Must Have'?

In common with society in general, businesses face challenges with diversity and inclusion. The issues of inequality and lack of representation can only be addressed through sustainable means, if leaders are able to take a broad point of view on diversity.

Diversity is part of the 'Best for Business' philosophy

Diversity and inclusion is part of the frameworks of business growth and leadership development.

It is an essential part of people and leadership development, helping to align success with creativity and innovation.

Essentially, it is a component of the 'best for business' philosophy. It is part of the core values that support staff teams, customers and clients.

It is part of the agenda for producing talented, competent and confident leadership, that is able to use its diversity to enhance business results.

Piecemeal activities cannot be allowed to allude towards diversity, whilst evading meaningful and actual and meaningful representation in business.

What is needed is a concerted effort from across the corporate sector to change the situation, once and for all.

No longer can the mantra of 'not being able to find qualified and experienced candidates for leadership roles', be posited as an excuse for the prevailing situation.


The need for corporate inclusion resides here, in our time, in our space. There can be little hope for future generations to address this issue, when the resources and intellect necessary to change this situation are currently available.

Diversity and Inclusion is a must for the corporate agenda and requires high level commitment and endorsement to make it a reality, in our time.

Recently, as the debate on diversity and inclusion heats up again, Eve Roodhouse, Chief Executive of Economic Development at Leeds City Council, said at a Women in Leadership event at Leeds Beckett Business Centre:

"Male dominated environments are already being reflected in the output of artificial intelligence and machine learning."

"We know intuitively that diversity matters. It's also increasingly clear that there is an evidence base for it."

Ms. Roodhouse, suggests diversity will be key for the fourth industrial revolution:

" Its also clear that as we go through the fourth industrial revolution, we need to think about diversity if we don't want to have solutions that are built for us , as a society that have bias built into them." Eve Roodhouse - Chief Executive, Economic Development, Leeds City Council