An independent review by Baroness McGregor-Smith on issues affecting black and minority ethnic (BME) groups in the workplace was published in February 2017. The Government response was published alongside the review.
The review identified discrimination and bias at every stage of an individual’s career, and even before it began:
- In 2015, 1 in 8 of the working age population were from a BME background, yet BME individuals make up only 10% of the workforce and hold only 6% of top management positions;
- The employment rate for ethnic minorities is only 62.8% compared with an employment rate for White workers of 75.6% – a gap of over 12 percentage points. This gap is even worse for some ethnic groups, for instance the employment rate for those from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background is only 54.9%;
- People with a BME background have an underemployment rate of 15.3% compared with 11.5% for White workers. These people would like to work more hours than they currently do; and
- All BME groups are more likely to be overqualified than White ethnic groups but White employees are more likely to be promoted than all other groups.
The review made 26 recommendations for improvement, and concluded:
“The time for talking is over. Now is the time to act. It will require concerted and sustained effort from all of us but the solutions are already there, if we only choose to apply them.”
Read the statistical analysis of potential benefits of full representation of BME individuals in the labour market.