Persistent Disadvantage in the Labour Market: Is it time to set some targets and goals?


Sandra Kerr OBE, Director, Race for Opportunity

Recently the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released five papers on poverty and ethnicity.  These paper again reinforce the need for effective monitoring and transparency of data so that potential areas of inequality can be highlighted and action plans and suitable policies developed that will effect improvements.

Again we see more evidence of the inequalities that Ethnic Minority People face in the Labour Market and why we now need actions.

The Business in the Community race and gender benchmark identifies some clear actions an employer and organisation can take to produce better labour market outcomes when ti comes to recruitment for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) people.

  • Employers that have clear and current objectives for recruitment of BAME talent understanding what BAME groups need a targeted strategy and action plan
  • Employers with a policy for interview panels to have ethnic minority representation when possible
  • Employers that are able to track the progress of all job applicants throughout the recruitment process by ethnicity and use this data to help them identify any potential barriers to recruitment and changes that need to be made

And yes their needs to be unconscious bias training and awareness for all of those involved in every stage of the employee selection process.  I particularly welcome these recommendations from JRF

  • Creating employment targets for those ethnic minority groups which systematically appear most disadvantaged (e.g. Pakistani, White Gypsy/Irish Traveller) should be a policy priority.
  • The public sector should be at the forefront of recruiting people from ethnic minority groups,particularly those who face systematic disadvantage in the labour market. At the same time businesses need to be given support to create more diverse workforces.

Employment targets are needed because there has been a persistent employment rate gap for most ethnic minority populations for more than 20 years.  Waiting for the market forces to sort things out.  It’s time to focussed and collaborative action.

The UK has a very diverse population of tax payers are the public service employees should be reflective of this.  This is enable the Civil Service and other key policy makers to create policies that effectively serve all diverse groups at the key stages of consultation, development, testing, evaluation and implementation.

Participating in our race and gender benchmark is a great way for employers in both the public and private sectors to assess their current status and will help them to create the action plan they need to go forward. Learn more about our benchmark survey.

Read the reports:  Joseph Rowntree Foundation - six things about how poverty effects different ethnic groups in the UK>>