BOSTON, March 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- BoardProspects, an innovative software platform designed to help corporations cost-effectively recruit world-class board members, today released its report, "Black Board Members in the Russell 3000." The in-depth review of board composition is the result of over 600 hours of research, highlighting historical racial inequities on corporate boards, the significant progress that has been made just in the past year, and the work that still needs to be done.
Of the 27,000 board members within the Russell 3000, 5.4 percent are Black, and 60 percent of companies in the Russell 3000 have no Black board members at all. But according to the BoardProspects industry breakdown, corporations have hit an inflection point just over the past year, with a significant increase during the second half of 2020. The report attributes that increase to an increased level of awareness that has taken place since the death of George Floyd, Jr. and the rise of community-based movements such as BLM.
"Clearly corporate boards still have a long way to go in terms of achieving racial diversity, but we've seen some remarkable improvements just over the past year," said Mark Rogers, President and CEO of BoardProspects. "While Mr. Floyd's tragic death served as a trigger point that launched a nationwide awareness campaign, we are certainly proud to serve as a catalyst in helping to improve racial diversity in corporate boards. By providing a platform to change the slow and insular way corporations choose their boards, we have taken a major step to move away from a process that has long been dominated by insiders."
Between 2019 and 2020, 4,145 new board members were appointed in Russell 3000 companies, 422 of which were Black board members, or 10.1 percent, with Black men gaining 58 seats in 2019 and 170 seats in 2020, and Black women gaining 56 seats in 2019 and 138 seats in 2020. The BoardProspects report notes that while companies have begun efforts to improve diversity in the workforce, companies must take a top-down approach beginning with their own boardrooms.
The BoardProspects report shows that among all industries showing the greatest number of appointments of Black board members between 2019 and 2020, banking performed the best with 22 new appointees to Russell 3000 companies, followed by biotechnology and internet/online companies with 17 appointees each. Industries scoring lowest were specialty retail, software, healthcare provision, and food products, with 11 appointees each.
"There is a solid business case for inclusionary policies at the board level," said Rogers. "Several studies have shown that companies with a higher level of Board diversity outperform those with less diversity, and consistently bring new perspectives to corporate strategies."
BoardProspects changes how corporations seek out qualified board members by providing them with cost-effective access to a credentialed and diverse community of board candidates. More than 55% of the board candidates within the BoardProspects community are women or ethnic/racial minorities.
BoardProspects.com is an innovative software platform designed to help corporations cost-effectively identify, assess and recruit world class board members from its community of thousands of highly credentialed and diverse board candidates. The BoardProspects platform leverages technology to improve the board recruitment process for publicly traded and private corporations by providing them with the tools and features necessary to create and maintain a diverse and talented board succession pipeline.