• International Workplace
  • 3 October 2019

Business leaders aim to boost diversity and inclusion in the workplace

In a move to inspire the next generation of business leaders in the UK, a new government-backed board comprised of senior industry bosses met for the first time on 25 September.

The Men As Change Agents (MACA) “Lead the Change” Board sees some of the most experienced names in business come together to work with organisations across the country, with the aim of encouraging business leaders to act as Change Agents to promote diversity and inclusion in business, and achieving greater equality and opportunity at the top of companies.

Chairing the board are Emer Timmons and Denis Woulfe MBE.

As part of their work, the MACA “Lead the Change” Board will support the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% of executive level FTSE 350 business leaders being women by the end of 2020. Board members will also work to increase the ethnic diversity in an effort to ensure that each FTSE 100 board should have at least one ethnic minority director by 2021, and each FTSE 250 board should have at least one ethnic minority director by 2024, supporting the work being delivered by Sir John Parker.

In the board’s opening meeting, the co-chairs emphasised how diversity and inclusion is good for business, with organisations in the top 25% for gender diversity on their executive teams 21% more likely to have profits above their industry average.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss said:

“Companies that exclude smart, hard-working women because of their gender are missing out on a huge amount of talent. The Men As Change Agents Board is led by heads of business, and they will be using their expertise and influence to work with organisations.

“Equality at work has a huge benefit to business, the economy and society. I want it to be just as easy for an ambitious woman to get a job as an ambitious man.”

Emer Timmons and Denis Woulfe MBE, MACA – lead the change Co-Chairs, said:

“It is now widely accepted that the workplace needs to become more diverse and inclusive and there is much more that the business community can do to lead the change.

“We hope that by increasing the number of supportive senior business leaders, the current majority of whom are male, as change agents, and by sharing best practice and ideas which make a difference, we can help accelerate the change we all want to see.”

As part of the Men As Change Agents initiative, business leaders are invited to pledge to:

  • take personal responsibility for promoting better diversity and inclusion in their business and strive to achieve the targets set out by the Hampton-Alexander and Parker reviews;
  • promote better diversity and inclusion by sponsoring one to three individuals from an underrepresented group within their organisation who have the potential to secure an executive role within three years; and
  • be an active and visible Change Agent by being part of the wider business conversation and achieving better diversity and inclusion within their organisation as a result.