There are many actions that people with power can take to unblock the pipeline to the top and level the playing field for Britain’s black, Asian and minority ethnic populations.
First among these is prejudice-free recruitment, retention, and promotion in the job market. All employers, in the public and private sector, must monitor all stages of the hiring and progression by ethnicity. Because knowing the facts about how your workplace is operating is a solid basis to assess levels of disproportionality and what action can be taken to address the problem. Listening to the experiences and suggestions of BME staff is also important.
The government-commissioned review into BME employment, headed by Conservative Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, found that Britain loses £24bn a year due to barriers blocking BME workers from progressing. That equates to 1.3% of GDP. Post-Brexit Britain cannot afford to lose this amount of talent or cash.
On the other side of the coin, more racial diversity also helps to combat group-think, and start to inject new ideas and creativity into the workplace. But to achieve this, employers must tackle the problem at source. And that means cracking down on ‘self-replication’ in recruitment and promotion, ie the tendency for bosses to hire or promote people who look like themselves or who are from similar social or class backgrounds.
McGregor-Smith recommended that all companies with more than 50 employers publish data by race and pay band. She also called for a culture of inclusion and openness, regular training to eradicate unconscious biases from everyday decisions, and a board-level sponsor with special responsibility for diversity issues, including race.
It is important that everyone plays their part, and that no one is in denial. This project looked at the colour profile of power and influence across society. Every single one of the people pictured on this website have a special responsibility to act. And people who believe they are not personally racist have an even greater responsibility to drive change for the better.
Other improvements people can make include:
Private and public sector