Fear of the unknown prevents diversity in the boardroom

Fear of the unknown prevents diversity in the boardroom, says Fiona Hathorn. HR needs to switch off the spotlight and turn on the floodlights to find new talent.
Organisations simply aren’t trying hard enough to recruit a diverse mix of people at board level. Boards of listed companies are small – on average only 10 people – and the potential candidates far outnumber the seats that become available each year, meaning nominations committees and HR specialists sometimes haven’t felt the need to even advertise these elite non-executive directorship (NED) positions. Add to this the fact that everyone feels “more comfortable” with people they know and you have a recipe for the incestuous cross-holding of board seats. Women on Boards UK is calling for full transparency around NED appointments, and transparency means advertising vacancies. Recruiters (and the headhunters they use) say that they agree with open transparent processes, but in reality, FTSE board positions are rarely advertised. 
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