Government’s Racial Inequality Audit Highlights BAME Injustices At Work

10 October 2017 -

BAME managersBusiness leaders have been urged to review their recruitment and workplace policies, as a new report revealed the stark inequalities black and ethnic minority people face in finding a job and climbing the career ladder

Jermaine Haughton

The Race Disparity Audit’s Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, a new government resource about the employment, education, housing and standard of living faced by different ethnic communities living in the UK, has shown unemployment among black, Asian and other ethnic minorities is almost double that of white British adults.   

In 2016, the group with the highest rate of unemployment was Pakistani/Bangladeshi (11%), and the groups with the lowest rate were white British and white other (4%). The unemployment gap between BAME and white Britons is also greater in the north of the country, according to the data, with a 13.6% disparity reported in the north compared to 9% in the south.

For the BAME people who have been successful in staying in employment, their opportunities to progress to senior management positions are limited, the report suggests.

The public sector has a substantial proportion of BAME employees, with 43% of black people reportedly working in public administration, education or health, followed by 28% of Indian and 24% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people.

However, ethnic minorities are under-represented at senior levels and this is further reflected by recent findings from thinktank Green Park and Operation Black Vote (OBV), which showed only 4% of unitary authority leaders are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Ethnicity Facts and Figures website’s data shows that just 5% of black people and 9% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people work in management, directorship and senior official positions, compared to 11% of white and Indian people.

Later this year, CMI will be launching CMI Race, a new network for managers and leaders across all sectors, whatever their background to help tackle these issues.

CMI Race will be chaired by Pavita Cooper, chair of the Delivering Diversity research advisory board and founder of diversity and talent advisory firm, More Difference.

Cooper says the new government audit will help initiate discussion and review from business leaders and authorities on how to break down the challenges preventing many BAME people from achieving success in the workplace.

“Transparency is the starting point for transforming diversity and inclusion in society, as well as business,” she said. “Our own Delivering Diversity research reveals that while 12% of the UK population is BAME, just 6% of managers are people of colour.

“Shining a spotlight on inequality will help us understand the causes and stand up to the social and business challenges. There is a lot to play for, with achieving full diversity in business worth £24bn to UK plc.”

CMI’s landmark Delivering Diversity report proposed that employers need to tackle the issue by providing leadership from its executives and directors, and puts forward clear integrated initiatives to support BAME individuals to maximise their potential and bring their talents to their business.

And despite evidence that increased diversity at all levels of an organisation can lead to increased revenues, better workplace culture and an improved understanding of a diverse customer base, the Delivering Diversity report found that some employers are often reluctant to invest to improve their ethnic diversity in decision-making jobs.

The new website is the latest prompt for businesses and politicians to focus their efforts on removing obstacles for BAME employees, and creating a fairer, meritocratic system to find the best talent and boost the UK’s economy and industry.

Prime Minister Theresa May has called for institutions to “explain or change”, in response to the unveiling of the data.

"People who have lived with discrimination don't need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge," she said. "But this audit means that for society as a whole - for government, for our public services - there is nowhere to hide."

Find out more about CMI Race, and how you can get involved, here

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