Boardroom diversity is increasingly an important topic for business leadership. Although there has been increased efforts to boost representation among corporate boards, many corporations have continued to overlook qualified people of color in the process.
In 2022, executive data firm Equilar conducted a survey which found that many board of directors at U.S. companies are still “much more white and much less diverse than the overall population.” For example, just 2.7% of board directors identified as Latino, despite making up 18.5% of the overall U.S. population. Additionally, the survey found that only 6.2% of board directors are Black individuals which is over a 7% decrease in comparison to the Black and African-American U.S. population.
With more work to be done in increasing boardroom diversity, there are a few short-term solutions that were outlined in a Forbes piece from June 2022. An immediate change that boardrooms should implement while recruiting is to “diversify the search process.” When there is an opening, boards will typically ask their members if they know someone who is suitable to fill the role. While it can be convenient to fill board positions through personal networks, this stunts the candidate pool and can contribute to an overall lack of diversity. Instead, board members should consider hiring an outside firm to help recruit qualified, diverse candidates or even look for candidates who don’t directly hold a CEO position.