Diversity on Fortune 500 Boards Makes Progress, Slowly

Here’s the good news: women and minorities have achieved the highest level of seats yet on Fortune 500 boards: 31%, according to the latest edition of a study that has tracked board diversity for the last six years. Thirteen years ago, that percentage was 28.8%, which underlines the slow rate of progress. The data for 2016, compiled by the Alliance for Board Diversity and Deloitte, finds that two-thirds of positions are still held by white men. One bright spot: at Fortune 100 companies, the diversity numbers are higher, with 35.9% of women and minorities in board seats. Another fact pointing to more rapid change to come: many of the current 5,463 Fortune 500 board members are in their 70s, so a large wave of imminent retirements will offer new opportunities for diversity.

John Howell, Editorial Director

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