BITC calls for ‘race’ to be added to UK Corporate Governance Code
While Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people have greater ambition than their white colleagues and enjoy their work more, 30% of employees in the UK have witnessed or experienced racial harassment in the workplace in the last year alone, an increase from previous years, according to a new report from Business in the Community (BITC).
The Race at Work report, undertaken with research partner YouGov, heard from 24,457 people in employment across the UK, making it the largest survey of race at work ever undertaken in the UK.
Sandra Kerr OBE, race equality director at BITC said: “It is clear that ethnic minorities’ experiences of work are still not equal to their white peers. Despite having greater enjoyment and ambition for work, the experience of the workplace processes and cultures for BAME employees is certainly not ideal.
“This is compounded by the extremely worrying finding that incidents of racial harassment and bullying appear to be on the rise. The scale of this challenge is immense and needs immediate action. As a result, we are making specific recommendations to both government and employers to ensure that the voices of 24,457 people are heard.”
The report calls for the government to commit to ensuring that the UK Corporate Governance Code’s definition of diversity for listed companies includes ‘and race’ as well as use its procurement spending power to ensure that businesses that tender for public contracts can demonstrate a commitment to race diversity.
The BITC also urges the government to draw up a policy framework on race to promote good practice and close the persistent unemployment gap and consider commissioning a review into race equality in the workplace with focus on promotions at senior management levels, similar to Lord Davies of Abersoch’s review of women on boards.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, ceo of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, commented: “We welcome this report as it provides further evidence of the roadblocks to opportunity that ethnic minorities still face in our workplaces.
“Is Britain Fairer?, our wide-ranging report of progress towards equality in Britain published last week, shows that people from almost every ethnic minority group suffered higher rates of unemployment and received lower pay than their white colleagues. Over the five year period to 2013, African/Caribbean/Black people had the largest drop in hourly pay (a fall of £1.20), bringing their pay down to £10.20 compared to £10.60 for White workers.
“This is why we have set challenges for government and others to improve fairness at work by encouraging fair employment practices, closing pay gaps, improving race diversity at senior levels and tackling racial harassment.
“There is no room for complacency. We must all take concerted action to create a country where merit and ability, not race or skin colour, determine your opportunities.”
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