Black employees only hold 1.5 per cent of management and leadership positions in the UK.
This is according to A Business in the Community (BITC) report, ‘Race at the Top’ which found that only 54,900 of the 3.9 million managers, directors and senior officials in the UK’s private and public sectors are black. This is a slight increase from 2014 when 1.4 per cent of managers and leaders were black employees.
The public sector only has 1 per cent of black employees in senior roles, which is a 0.1 per cent increase since 2014.
Politics has seen a slight improvement with 65 MPs in the UK being Black, Asian or Minority Ethnicity (BAME) compared to 27 in 2010. Still, only 1 per cent of journalists, senior civil servants, academics and the police force are black.
Sandra Kerr CBE, race director at BITC, said:
Twenty-five years on from the Business in the Community’s Race Equality Campaign being launched, it is clear that black people continue to be under-represented at a senior level.
Black livelihoods matter and employers need to take urgent action to ensure that their organisation is inclusive and a place where people of any ethnic background can thrive and succeed.
Over the weekend, Audeliss a specialist search firm that focuses on diversity placements and improving the representation of minorities at board level and INvolve an organisation and consultancy championing diversity and inclusion in businesses, led businesses to make a pledge to update annually on black inclusion commitments and urge others to join to do the same.
In an open letter published in The Sunday Times, top business leaders from Zendesk, KPMG UK, ITV, BT, Hachette UK, Capita, MOBO, WPP, Group M, IHG, PwC, Schroders, Sainsbury’s, Slaughter and May, Sodexo, Zurich UK, Livingbridge, Audeliss, INvolve, Tesco, John Lewis, M&S and EY, have pledged to fix the current unfair system, outlining their “responsibility and duty” to take “long term sustainable action”.
The letter acknowledged “what gets measured gets done”, hoping this move will improve BAME representation.
I’ve been banging the drum about ethnicity representation and inclusion in business for over nine years, and the time for platitudes and excuses has passed. People want to see change, and they want to see it now. I want to be a better ally for the black so this was my chance to put words into action.
Many businesses don’t know what to do and I’m not saying these commitments offer all the answers, but they do give concrete building blocks of where you can start. I hope other CEOs will sign the letter and make these commitments in the coming weeks so they too can be bold and intentional in their support of ethnicity.