CEW UK have joined forces with ScienceMagic and The MBS Group to share their second comprehensive study on the progress of diversity and inclusion within the beauty industry. The report presents an introspective look, providing critical insights drawn from the industry’s 100 largest companies and in-depth discussions with industry leaders, and progressive brands including BeautyPie, Edgewell, Glossier and IFF.
Over the past few months, MBS has undertaken in-depth research, measuring the representation of women and leaders from an ethnic minority background at Board and executive committee level in Beauty. We’ve also held detailed conversations with Chairs, CEOs, HRDs and Heads of D&I to hear the steps companies are taking to make their organisations more inclusive.
Since 2021, the research shows that solid progress has been made on ethnic diversity at the most senior levels in Beauty, with more than 16% of Board seats held by leaders from an ethnic minority background, up from 9%. At the executive committee level, the proportion of people of colour has more than doubled to 15.2% from 7%.
Julietta Dexter, Founder of ScienceMagic said: “Today, industry leaders recognise that not embracing ethnic diversity in their business risks missing out on talent, creativity and revenue. Across the sector, there are many instances of accelerator programmes for Black-owned brands, and specific investment in product R&D to bring new shades or formulations to market”.
However, while the industry is making strides, challenges persist. The talent pool’s homogeneity is cited as a significant barrier to progress and the underrepresentation of the disabled community in leadership roles is a key area of concern. Notably, while there’s a relatively high proportion of women in senior leadership teams, beauty’s most strategic roles are still held by men. In the Top-20 beauty groups in Europe, only 3 have a woman in the role of Chair, only 3 have a woman in the role of CEO, and only 4 have a woman in the role of CFO.
“Clearly and encouragingly, companies are recognising diversity as a commercial imperative and taking deliberate action to appoint leaders from underrepresented ethnic minority backgrounds into the most senior positions. However, there are still serious challenges ahead, and Beauty companies must think carefully about how to bring more diversity, and more social mobility, into the wider industry.” Said Huw Llewellyn-Waters, Partner, Consumer Goods Practice, at MBS
Sallie Berkerey, MD, CEW UK commented, “Since our first year of research in 2021, the proportion of women at Board and Executive Committee level has climbed steadily. On the Board, 44% of roles are held by women, a figure which places the Beauty industry ahead of its adjacent consumer industries. However, we are still a way off reaching the 50/50 gender split which exists in society – and considering that the industry is made up predominantly of women, companies must focus on increasing the pace of change.”
Through this report, we hope to shine a light on D&I in Beauty, and highlight examples of best practice for others to learn from. We hope that this report can inspire progress and encourage more open conversation on diversity in the Beauty industry.