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Divided Britain: fewer ethnic minorities are in senior positions

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A nation divided? New research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggests ethnicity remains a factor in the appointment of managerial talent.

Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on racial inequality in the UK has found that a substantially lower number of ethnic minorities hold managerial positions. 

Only 8.8% of minorities worked as managers, directors and senior officials compared to 10.7% of white people. In the African and Caribbean group, only 5.7% held those positions.

At the end of 2014 ethnic minority representation on FTSE 100 boards was 5%, with 69% of FTSE 100 having all white boardrooms. 

Sandra Kerr, race equality director, Business in the Community said: “Only one in 16 leaders in high-level policy-making roles and business are BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) meaning there is a gross shortage of role models to inspire the next generation.”

The EHRC reported that unemployment rates were also significantly higher for ethnic minorities. In 2013, 12.9% were unemployed compared to 6.3% of white people. The report also found:

  • Between 2010 and 2015 young ethnic minorities (16-24 years old) saw a 49% rise in unemployment
  • Of young people entering apprenticeship schemes, 89% were white. Only 2-5% were from minorities
  • Black workers with degrees earn 23.1% less on average than white graduates. Those that left school with GCSEs earned 11.4% less on average

The onus is on UK companies to create a more inclusive and diverse working environment for people of all backgrounds. By having a welcoming culture in which anyone can flourish, it creates a widening of their prospective talent pools, giving younger people of various ethnicities the ability to address to progress to managerial and directorial positions. 

David Isaac, chair of the EHRC wrote: “We are committed to working with the new Prime Minister and her Government, and the Scottish and Welsh Governments. We must all redouble our effort to build a fair society in which every one of us is as free as possible to make the most of our talents, whatever our background.”

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