Blog by Sandra Kerr, OBE National Director of Race for Opportunity
A fascinating article in the Guardian over the weekend gave us some commentary on an Operation Black Vote study that shows that the BME electorate could decide one quarter of seats at the next General Election.
Using 2011 census data, researchers found 168 marginal seats where the number of BAME voters is greater than the majority held by the sitting MP. This is one quarter of seats nationally and nearly 40% of seats in London.
Politicians need to realise that BAME voters really matter, and that developing policies that tackle racial discrimination and disadvantage would reap serious electoral dividends. As you begin to draft your manifestos what are you going to include to support diverse communities so that they will come out to vote for you in droves?
For me, all parties need a greater focus on job creation and on what can be done to make sure that where jobs exist, young BAME women and men have a fair chance to get work, and to progress.
To create fairness in the job market we need the leaders and role models at the top of companies and organisations, shaping policy and demonstrating what can we done.
I support Operation Black Vote’s call for more political representation for our diverse communities – at Race for Opportunity we are also working with employers to build the talent pipeline and make the change that we need to see BAME role models at the top of organisations across the public and private sectors.
The Davies review on women on boards made a set of recommendations that have had a real impact on woman’s representation at the top tables of FTSE listed companies.
Which political party will be the first to make a commitment to do something similar on race?
There have been calls for businesses to publish their demographic data on boards and recruitment, but despite this I have seen no follow up action. I believe adopting this approach would not only change individual's perception of the political parties but enable employers to better manage their recruitment and the progression talent pipelines for diversity by having the vital management information about the current picture and to effectively action plan for balance, fairness and inclusion in their workforce in the future