But while there's little argument that traditionally under- represented groups, such as women and members of the ethnic minorities, now play a significant part in the workforce, many commentators argue that real power, in the boardroom, or round the partnership table, is still wielded by the same old faces.
Many of the UK's top employers are trying hard to tackle this imbalance at senior levels through a wide range of formal and informal initiatives, such as communications campaigns, support networks and flexible working policies. "This is a commercial imperative," says Abbas Jaffer, head of diversity for Europe at the investment bank, Morgan Stanley. "With the war for talent, we want to hire the best that exists." Abbas says that companies have to respond to demographics. "If you look at the UK, we have a much larger percentage of ethnic students than ever before, and women are getting better qualifications than men. The business world is no longer 'white and male'/'Since 2003, the efforts of employers like this have been promoted and focused by the international Leadership Career Forum Programme from QS, the international careers and educational development group.
The Programme, created by Director QS Forums, Carole Brennan, stages events across Europe, bringing enlightened employers together with a selected audience of early career professionals, to take part in seminars and panel debates, to network informally and to work with expert life and career development coaches. Their aim is show what can be achieved with the right attitude and support infrastructure. …