“I don’t think they are a good idea,” he said. “The UK is doing a great job highlighting the issue of board diversity and companies are being responsive. We don’t want to have to force ourselves to pick the wrong person just to fill a quota.”
Dianah Worman, the diversity adviser at HR professional body the CIPD is equally wary. “If you impose things you tend to foster a resistance from those who miss out on positions or promotions. They say such and such a person only got it because they are a woman,” she said.
“The person getting the job also wants to feel that they have got it on merit. There are some frustrated people who favour quotas thinking they would rather have any chance than no chance of career progression but we support voluntary targets. Tailor them to the needs of your organisation and you will get the traction needed to make change.”
We’ve come a long way to achieving more diverse boards at FTSE 100 companies. In the next installment we take a closer look at what it took from an HR perspective to achieve this…