Just 1.5% of top private sector managers are black and the proportion has barely changed since 2014, according to a new report.
That is despite black people making up more than 3% of people in England and Wales.
It shows the need for “urgent action” by employers, said Business in the Community, which produced the figures.
In 2014, 1.4% of top management positions at private sector companies were held by black people.
The figures also revealed that just 1% of public sector leaders are black, while 62% of charity boards have only white directors.
There was a similar lack of diversity among journalists, senior civil servants, judges, academics and the police force.
Sandra Kerr, race director at Business in the Community – which launched a campaign for better representation 25 years ago – said: “It is clear that black people continue to be under-represented at a senior level.
“This lack of diverse leadership has a direct impact on decision-making.
“This is more crucial than ever when the evidence shows that BAME people continue to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“Black livelihoods matter and employers need to take urgent action to ensure that their organisation is inclusive and a place where people of any ethnic background can thrive and succeed.”
The figures have been released to coincide with the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, which brought Caribbean migrants to the UK.
They also coincide with global protests against racial inequality, sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US.
The outcry has prompted many businesses to express their commitment to equality and in a number of cases re-examine their historic links to slavery.
Last week, insurance market Lloyd’s of London said sorry for its “shameful” role in the slave trade while pubs and restaurants operator Greene King apologised over the actions over one of their founders who profited from it.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England also issued an apology – for the “inexcusable” connections some former governors and directors had with the slave trade.
It said it would remove any images of them from display.
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