Mountain climbers indicating progression


One in 10  people in the workplace is from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background but only one in 13 holds a management position1 in the public or private sector. 
BAME people have far greater ambition than their white counterparts - 63% of BAME and 41%2  of white employees say they want to progress. On top of this, interest in taking part in a fast-track programme is significantly higher among BAME groups, jumping from 18% of white employees who would take part to 40% of BAME employees.3  

We want to increase the representation of BAME employees at management levels and to speed up their progression in the workplace.

Employers need to take a step-change in action to enable BAME talent to flourish and progress equally within their organisation.


Call to action for employers

We want employers to:

  • Monitor their workforce by ethnicity4 and management.
  • Track participation rates of BAME employees on 'fast track' programmes and development training.
  • Ensure that managers at every level have objectives5  around ensuring diversity and inclusion in their teams.

Call to action for government

We want government to:

  • Support the Financial Reporting Council during its 2016 consultation of the UK Corporate Governance Code to add 'and race' to its definition of diversity.
  • Use its procurement spending power  as it did during the London 2012 Games to ensure that businesses that tender for public contracts can demonstrate their commitment to race diversity with evidence of their policies and action on the recruitment, retention and progression of BAME employees. 

Our campaign activity around progression

  • In 2014, the race campaign was pivotal in getting the Financial Reporting Council to consider adding 'and race'  to the UK Corporate Governance Code’s current definition of diversity.  This small yet significant amendment will be a clear and strong signal to UK employers that the FRC understands the importance of employers embracing diversity across race as well as gender. Amending the UK Corporate Governance Code to include ‘and race’ 7 will go a long way in encouraging organisations to adapt to an evolving marketplace.
  • Our Cross Organisational Mentoring Circles 8 have been hugely successful for mentees, mentors and for organisational learning on potential challenges BAME talent experiences within the workplace. This format of mentoring, or similar mentoring programmes, are a core recommendation for employers. 
  • Employers can harness huge levels of ambition among BAME employees with our Bridging the Value Gap toolkit 9 which will help employers to promote better conversations about career aspirations. 
  • Our Benchmark reports 10 identify the actions that correlate with more equal progression of BAME and white employees. The Benchmark also evidences the benefits to both employer and employee of Employee Network Groups. Those employers with such networks had more BAME workers than other employers. 

1  Race at the Top 2014

2 Race at Work 2015 and Race to Progress: breaking down barriers June 2011

3  Race at Work 2015

4 Monitoring ethnicity June 2012 and RfO Benchmarking Report 2009: Transparency at the heart of diversity

5 Race and Gender Benchmark 2014

6  Factsheet - BAME women and Enterprise October 2014

7  FRC and 'add race'

8  Mentoring Circles pages

9  Bridging the value gap toolkit June 2011

10 Race and Gender Benchmark 2014

11 Business in the Community  race equality campaign 20th Anniversary Dinner Awards Booklet 2015