Gender and Ethnic Diversity Among UK Corporate Boards

11 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2007

See all articles by Stephen J. Brammer

Stephen J. Brammer

University of Bath - School of Management

Andrew Millington

University of Bath - School of Management

Stephen Pavelin

University of Bath - School of Management; University of Reading - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper investigates the ethnic and gender diversity of the corporate board of UK companies, placing particular emphasis on links to board size and industry characteristics. We employ a novel dataset that covers a large sample of UK PLCs and describes a directors gender, ethnicity and position held. We find both ethnic and gender diversity to be very limited, and that diversity is somewhat less pronounced among executive positions. We find significant cross-sector variation in gender diversity, with an above average prevalence of women in Retail, Utilities, Media and Banking, while such variation in ethnic diversity is considerably less pronounced. Our evidence suggests that a close proximity to final consumers plays a more significant role in shaping board diversity than does the female presence among the industry's workforce. We argue that this shows that board diversity is influenced by a firms external business environment and particularly an imperative to reflect corresponding diversity among its customers.

Suggested Citation

Brammer, Stephen and Millington, Andrew and Pavelin, Stephen, Gender and Ethnic Diversity Among UK Corporate Boards. Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 393-403, March 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=972532 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8683.2007.00569.x

Stephen Brammer

University of Bath - School of Management ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom
01225 826826, ext. 5685 (Phone)

Andrew Millington

University of Bath - School of Management ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1225 383068 (Phone)

Stephen Pavelin (Contact Author)

University of Bath - School of Management ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

University of Reading - Department of Economics ( email )

Reading, RG6 6AA
United Kingdom

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