Women Boardroom
Katie Hopkins says unless companies only hire top performers, it is a futile exercise(Reuters)

TV personality Katie Hopkins has called gender and diversity quotas "hugely patronising" and urges HR professionals to stamp out this form of positive discrimination.

Hopkins, who rose to fame after her stint on The Apprentice, also told HR Magazine that women and ethnic minorities would not want to be hired if they had a suspicion that it was "for target reasons".

"Unless you only hire top performers, it's a futile exercise," Hopkins said.

"Businesses care about shareholders, and to think their role is to engineer a more socially diverse working atmosphere just for the sake of it is naïve."

Hopkins also claimed she has witnessed HR professionals being "required to push a particular shortlist of candidates who tick diversity and equality boxes" through her consultancy work.

The comments come after shocking research revealed senior British business women are two times less likely to be promoted than their male colleagues.

According to a study from campaign group the 30% Club, which was conducted by business psychology consultancy YSC and professional services firm KPMG across FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, a man starting his career in a FTSE 100 organisation is four and a half times more likely to make it to the Executive Committee (ExCo).

The research also revealed that only 23% of the representative sample of FTSE 100 companies currently have 30% or more female ExCo members.

In addition, a further 23% of companies report having 20%-30% female ExCo members.

The findings follow the news that as FTSE 100 constituents near the target, set by Lord Davies in his Women on Boards review of 2011, of achieving 25% of women in boardroom positions by 2015.

The current figure for the FTSE100 stands at 20.4%.