A report from specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half has suggested that businesses need to first take a ‘look in the mirror’ and implement real change before attempting to improve diversity on the board through external hires.

According to the firm’s Boardroom Navigator 2023, half of private equity investors are raising awareness of the need for better diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at board level amongst their portfolio companies in a bid to improve diverse teams. Almost a third (32 per cent) are also establishing a company-wide DEI program as more investors recognise the need for change.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion is a familiar issue to executive teams, however there hasn’t yet been an ideal reached for the majority – and quotas haven’t been the all-encompassing solution that they were seemingly believed to be,” noted Charlie Grubb, managing director Executive Search at Robert Half. “Addressing this issue requires a look inward first to understand themselves, their employees and hiring methods. Requests for diverse candidate shortlists won’t deliver results if the internal culture doesn’t reflect the end-goal.

“DEI is thankfully moving into the mainstream language of boardrooms and investors,” he added. “But looking ahead there is still plenty of work for executive teams to do. By starting with themselves, being honest about what they find, and developing a long-term plan, they will be able to embrace the steps and experience needed to improve opportunities for everyone.”

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