Sandra Kerr, national director of Race for Opportunity, has stressed the importance that any public sector job cuts do not have a disproportionate impact on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community.
Ms Kerr said: “The concern is that the job cuts will specifically affect the ethnic community, which is already disproportionately represented in a number of professions in the public sector, such as the police force. It is also highly likely that there will be a knock on effect from the CSR into the private sector, and with many industries already behind in their BAME representation, there is real concern that the victims of job cuts will be disproportionally from a BAME background.
“This will not only hurt the individuals and families involved, but in the bigger picture, will mean that diversity in the workplace takes a step backwards. Slow progress has been made over recent years in ethnic minority representation in the UK’s workforce and the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review could simply undo all of the hard work that has already been done.”
A further issue Race for Opportunity would like to see taken into account is the risk to diversity programmes and roles at a time of enforced austerity. Cutting these will only have a further detrimental affect on achieving a truly representative UK workforce.
Sandra Kerr continued: “It has been suggested that companies ought to cut their diversity programmes in a bid to reduce employment costs, however this is the worst possible plan of action organisations can take. Future predictions of what the UK’s society is going to look like state that more than 1 in 5 Britons will be an ethnic minority by 2051, therefore diversity programmes are now more important than ever if we want the UK’s workforce to be truly reflective of our society. The importance of enabling and supporting diversity roles cannot be underestimated.”