Press release:

CMI Reaction: Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities

Wednesday 31 March 2021

On the publication of the Commission’s report, Pavita Cooper, Chair of the CMI Race Advisory Committee and Founder, More Difference said:

It has taken so long for frank discussions about the true experiences of people from diverse ethnic groups at work to reach the top of the agenda, that this report must not be used as an excuse to de-prioritise progress towards anti-racism. Brave conversations followed up with robust actions are how we collectively better serve and benefit from the diverse society we live in.

We know that businesses with ethnically diverse leadership are 35% more likely to outperform less diverse rivals, but still only 6% of managers in the UK are from the multifarious smaller ethnic groups comprising our population. Unfortunately, today’s report marks only baby steps in creating a more inclusive workplace, with little practical action to lead change. Building back better means building back balanced, so we urgently need to improve the representation of diverse ethnicities in management and leadership positions.

On Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting, Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said:

This is a missed opportunity, because as any leader will tell you: if you want to fix an issue, you need to have rock solid data to back up your case for change. Without this data, organisations have no way to understand what are the specific drivers and barriers to their individual situations. Our research shows that four out of five managers agree that large organisations should be required to report their organisation's ethnicity pay gap.

By making the publication of ethnicity pay gaps mandatory, we could have ensured inclusion is firmly on every Executive Team’s agenda, which is key to lead culture change. It is good to see the Commission highlight the role that action plans should play as positive, practical actions which we know lead to change. However, again, without making them mandatory we won’t see widespread uptake driving seismic cultural change.

What gets measured gets managed, what gets managed gets done. CMI believes the Government should require the publication of ethnicity pay data from any firm in receipt of government funding. The focus of this report on education as a driver of equality marks a welcome contribution to the discussion about race in the workplace - but must not represent the last word from this Government.

The Commission’s call to drop the unhelpful “BAME” term is long overdue. The best leaders are specific in their use of language, and engage their colleagues in open discussions around identity.

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