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Since we started Minerva six years ago we have had it as our ambition to embed practices and disciplines in everything we do to ensure the most diverse outcomes. In an age where so much is talked about diversity, we have made it our priority to focus on real action that can make a difference.  


We have looked at all assignments we undertook from starting in 2013 to the end of 2018.    Over that time we worked on a total of 275 appointments. 


In terms of gender balance, 49% of all our appointments have been women, and in 2017 and 2018 this figure was over 50% (55 and 53 respectively).  This is well above normal ratios for senior leadership.   On average our longlists have been 34% female, and shortlists 42%.     This contrasts with responses to advertisements we place on behalf of our clients, where we have generally found that less than a quarter of all applications are from women. 


This highlights for us the positive contribution made by thoughtful headhunting, and suggests that, in general, women candidates have a higher chance of progressing positively in processes than they might presuppose.    We have found positive action – especially ensuring that our headhunting targets a balanced target candidate population – is producing better and better outcomes.  


In terms of ethnicity, we are seeing year on year increases in the number of appointees who come from BAME backgrounds although we recognise that the percentage has roughly kept pace with the growth of the business, remaining at around 9 per cent.    This concerns us, particularly in a context where we note that around 30% of all advertisement respondents are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.   Through our Aspire programme, we have been working with mid-career BAME professionals for the past couple of years, to support their career development.   We will be seeking to expand this in coming months. 


It is in governance appointments that we are seeing the most significant progress.   Around a quarter of our work is recruiting non-executives or Chairs.   Since we started, 51% of our appointees to these roles have been female, and 38% have been from BAME backgrounds.   Positive action has fed in very effectively to these processes, and we are pleased that we are able to make an effective contribution to our clients in this area. 


We are conscious that diversity encompasses a broad set of factors – gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality as well as wider aspects of background and perspective.   If anything, we think there is a danger in putting all of these together in one box as if they are all the same – whereas each aspect of diversity is distinct and different from others.    It is our ambition to continue performing even better in this area, and we will be seeking to broaden our activities over the coming months.