Data Driving Change

Sandra Kerr OBE, Director of Race for Opportunity






Blog by Sandra Kerr OBE,  Director Race for Opportunity


Since the launch of Business in the Community’s Race for Opportunity’s regional factsheets we in the Race for Opportunity team have been thinking through how this new data will inform our campaigning work in the future. 

There are some particularly eye catching facts and stats that made us think. 

A number of major towns and cities across different regions have seen a significant increase in the proportion of the residents drawn from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. 

At the 2011 census Leicester had a population that was 49.5% BAME.  Birmingham has increased from a 25.2% BAME population in 2006 to 41.9% now.  In Slough over half the population (54.3%) is from a BAME background.  There are other areas, such as Bradford, where BAME children make up 50% of the primary school cohort, so the proportion of the population that is BAME is likely to increase. 

Whilst the BAME population in England and Wales has doubled since the last census from 7.9% in 2001 to 14.1% in 2011 it is particularly important to understand what kind of growth is happening and in what communities, to build a better understanding of culturally diverse groups.  We also need to think through what this means for employers who have a role in those communities and policy makers who are shaping our towns and cities. 

Variation between regions, towns and cities leads us to consider the challenge in having a truly national conversation about race diversity, ethnicity and inclusion.  40.2% of people in London are from a BAME background, in stark contrast to 4.4% in Wales – however Cardiff has a BAME population of 15.3%. There are variations within London also, for example  – Newham’s population is 71/1% BAME. When we talk about diversity and the UK as an inclusive and fair society,  people from different parts of the country, and even different parts of our capital city, will be basing their views on sharply contrasting lived experiences.  We have produced these fact sheets to support and spark conversations to build a better understanding of the local communities within which we live and work.  There are four areas of action to consider following the publication of these factsheets: 

  • Employment: The factsheets will help employers and recruitment agencies to understand the diversity of the talent pool in England and Wales, and how that is going to change in the future.  They can then integrate this knowledge into their attraction, recruitment and progression planning.
  • Communities:  This data will help policy makers and local authority leaders to understand the diversity of their communities and what this means for delivering services no and in the future. 
  • Customers:  Businesses will benefit from this opportunity to understand their changing local customer base, and to think through the implications of this change for communications, marketing and market opportunity. 
  • Enterprise: These Factsheets will help employers and local authorities to identify the regional areas where they can most stimulate economic growth and entrepreneurship at a local level. We believe that central and local government should use the influence of their buying power to engage with diverse small businesses, and encourage organisations with larger contracts with them to do the same.


View the 2013 Factsheets- Race for Opportunity members only

View the 2009 Factsheets - available to everyone.