Race for Opportunity - Progress and Impact

The campaign's work continues: The results of Census 2011, will give a true reflection of the composition of the UK population and probably highlight the growth of its ethnic minority communities. The need to support employers in creating diverse and inclusive environments will be even greater, including the need to address key issues around globalisation and social mobility.

Updated copy coming soon that will  include Census 2011 statistics.

The RfO network of employers and employees represent 4%- 5% of the total UK working-age population. RfO network employers report their progress on the race agenda annually via the benchmarking exercise.  The campaign is unique in being able to track employer key trends since 2001.

Through the RfO benchmarking exercise, network employers have been able to monitor and report clear outcomes on race equality. A few examples:-
  • An increasing number of RfO network employers now monitor the ethnicity of their workforce (you can't measure it if you don't monitor it). Up from 87% in 2006, to 93% in 2009.
  • In 2001, only 38% of network employers had a clear business case for race and/or had action plans linked to their business objectives. By 2005, this had increased to 91% and 85% respectively.
  • Network employers understand the importance of leadership engagement, 94% have now established a senior member to lead on diversity. 
  • There has been an increase in the tracking of training and development opportunities available/fine-tuned for ethnic minority employees.  In 2001 only 62% of employers were tracking ethnic minority take up on development opportunities.  By 2009 70.5% of network employers were doing so.
  • Transparency in how network employers now recruit, progress and promote staff has improved.  In 2009,  79% of network employers were using a variety of recruitment resources and methods to attract ethnic minority applicants, with many also reviewing their entire selection process and recruitment strategy.
The campaign carries out research to provide the evidence required to address race inequalities in the UK workplace:
  • As a result of the RfO 'Race to the Top' research report, the government  funded the RfO campaign  to produce further research to highlight race inequalities in the UK. 
  • RfO research Race into Higher Education and Aspiration and Trust  has, amongst other things, resulted in both Oxford and Cambridge universities contacting the campaign to better understand how they might increase their diversity.  The research also raised awareness within the public domain and was covered widely in the media during 2010. 
The RfO campaign has access to, and the ear of government ministers:-
  • RfO in partnership with the Government’s Ethnic Minority Taskforce’s Employer Engagement Group and Department for Work and Pensions has been monitoring the impact on employment outcomes for ethnic minority people during the downturn.  Sandra Kerr, National Campaign Director, sits on the DWP group that looks at government policy and behaviour and RfO has been a key influencer in promoting RfO best practice which has been rolled out in the form of the '5 Points for Progress' toolkit and bias tool. 
  • The '5 Points for Progress' toolkit was included in the government's Employment white paper, December 2009.
  • The DWP Minister, Maria Miller has acknowledged the work the campaign is doing and has committed to writing to the CBI and British Chamber of Commerce to promote the '5 Points for Progress' toolkit and bias tool as well as recommending that their members use it.  The whole country will therefore ultimately be following RfO best practice.
  • The UK ethnic minority employment gap has been closing steadily, was 19 percentage points now 12 percentage points.  The disproportionate redundancies of ethnic minority workers witnessed during the last recession has not occurred during this recession as many employers may now be following a fairer and transparent process when downsizing. However, the full impact of government cuts will not transpire until next year.
  • The '5 Points for Progress' toolkit and 'bias' tool has aroused interest from non-member employers and the campaign will embark on a series of 'Getting started with Diversity' workshops commencing March 2011.  30 organisations in Birmingham who have heard of the toolkit will participate in the workshop, as well a further 35 employers in Leeds.