Offering blacks and minority ethnic (BME) people equal opportunities for career progression could infuse £24B into the British economy, a government-backed review revealed on Tuesday.
As first reported by The Guardian, the review found that the employment rate for minorities sat at 62.8% compared with 75.6% for their white counterparts. Findings also showed that while 14% of working adults hailed from a BME background, 6% only managed to land top management positions. Lady Ruby McGregor-Smith, a member of the parliament and former Mitie CEO, conducted the review.
According to McGregor-Smith, managers tend to overlook BME colleagues when assessing candidates for promotion because they are more inclined to promote “people similar to themselves.” This often gives way to discrimination.
McGregor-Smith, who immigrated to London with her family from India at the age of two and is a Muslim by faith, said that unconscious bias is the root of the problem. Eastern Eye reported that the baroness described it as “more pervasive and insidious” because it is difficult to spot, as opposed to outright racism.
“Having done this review, some of the prejudices and the unconscious bias I have seen as I’ve talked to different groups of people have really shocked me and are much worse than I feared. I thought that we were in a better place in business than we are,” she told Eastern Eye.
“The time for talk on race in the workplace is over, it’s time to act. No-one should feel unable to reach the top of any organisation because of their race. The consequences of continuing to do nothing will be damaging to the economy and to the aspirations of so many,” she was quoted as saying in a separate report by The Sun.
The results of the review were presented at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
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