Conservative Party Turns Spotlight on Ethnicity in Workplace

Sandra Kerr OBE




Blog by Sandra Kerr, OBE, Director, National Race for Opportunity

The Conservative Party has reportedly committed to developing policies that appeal to ethnic minority communities in order to challenge perceptions of the party and to improve its voting figures.

This includes an alleged intention to ask FTSE companies to publish their workforce metrics by ethnicity. 

We welcome this message as the catalyst for change that is needed if we are to achieve equality for ethnic minorities in the UK’s workplaces. This is the beginning of a long-term, high level debate.

This is a powerful and welcome statement that businesses and political parties alike need to be accessible to all groups of society. It is a clear recognition that Britain is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, and with this comes significant voting, purchasing and consumer influence that can no longer be ignored.

Currently, 1 in 7 of the current population is from an ethnic minority background. By 2051, 1 in 5 people in the UK will be from an ethnic minority background. Yet despite changing demographics employers have found it difficult to establish a diverse workforce that reflects the society in which it operates; only, 1 in 15 of the BAME workforce is in management position, and 59.4% of ethnic minority people are employed – against the UK average of 70.6%.
Let’s be clear: this is not about ‘positive discrimination’ or quotas.  This is about employers appointing individuals on merit, but being mindful of diversity and ensuring opportunities are open to all at every stage of recruitment, progression and pay reward processes.
Equality will not happen overnight. It requires long-term organisational and cultural change from business and society that is led from the top. We continually call on employers to monitor and be transparent about their workforce metrics, without this it is impossible to understand where the gaps are in their workforce and identify how to redress them.

Above all, it requires a willingness to accept that recruitment, progression and reward processes may not be as fair as some would like to think.”

Find out the facts and figures of ethnic minorities in the workplace and learn more about the Race for Opportunity campaign aims >>