Every person, regardless of ethnicity or background, should be able to fulfil their potential at work. Employers who take action to support equal progression and participation in the workplace, across ethnicities, will grow their talent pool and address skill shortages in the process.
In the UK, too many individuals from an ethnic minority background still face discrimination and disadvantage when trying to get into and progress at work compared with their white British peers.
According to the McGregor-Smith Review (2017), the employment rate for black and minority ethnic (BME) groups is only 62.8% compared with an employment rate for White workers of 75.6%. This gap is even worse for some ethnic groups; for instance, the employment rate for those from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background is only 54.9%.
Overall, about 1 in 8 of the working age population are from an ethnic minority background, yet these individuals make up only 10% of the workforce and hold only 6% of top management positions. The Parker Review (2016) of the ethnicity of UK boards found that only 85 of the 1,050 director positions in the FTSE 100 are held by directors of colour.
Addressing this issue is not just about tackling discrimination; it is also about boosting business performance. It is estimated the economy stands to gain an additional £24 billion if there was full representation and progression across ethnicities in the workplace.
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