Tesco's Chairman has said that he believes white men are becoming an endangered species at the top of British businesses.
John Allan, who sits alongside nine other men and three women on the Tesco Board, made the comments at a business conference last week - The Independent reports.
He said: “For a thousand years men have got most of these jobs. The pendulum has swung very significantly the other way and will do for the foreseeable future”.
“If you are a white male, tough. You are an endangered species and you are going to have to work twice as hard.”
Allan, who earns £650,000 a year, also added: “If you are female and from an ethnic background, and preferably both, then you are in an extremely propitious period.”
However, preliminary findings from The Leadership 10k, by Green Park, reveal that women are three times more likely than their male counterparts to need a qualification from a prestigious university to gain a Board position in the UK.
The report also found that just 35% of Non-Executive Directors are women whilst only ten per cent of Executive Directors are female.
The Executive Search firm’s study also found that, whilst numbers of senior female employees in the health sector are declining, levels of senior female employment in technology, engineering, consumer goods, constuction, property, media and natural resources are all improving.
Raj Tulsiani, Co-founder and CEO of Green Park, said: “It’s encouraging to see further progress towards gender diversity on the Boards of our biggest companies. However, the fact that the vast majority of leaders with an education from Russell Group or Ivy League universities were women shows that female leaders need to achieve more than men before they even start their careers.
“We must work harder to improve holistic gender equality in business.”
Last year, Nicky Morgan, then Minister for Women and Equalities and MP for Loughborough, shared her concerns about the failure of top businesses to hire women.
She said: “There are still more people called John chairing FTSE 100 Boards than there are women.”
John Allan’s comments come as it is revealed the four out of ten CEOs in the FTSE 100 are now non-UK nationals. The figures were revealed by recruitment firm Odgers Berndstson’s survey.
The rise is linked, in part, to the increase in FTSE 100 companies based outside the UK since 2001.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Tesco PLC.