• International Workplace
  • 7 March 2018

Government reviews employers’ progress in addressing ethnic minority in the workplace

The government has commissioned research into what steps employers have taken to remove barriers to workplace progression for ethnic minorities.

The results of the new research will be used to assess progress made by employers on recommendations in the independent McGregor-Smith Review into black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) participation and progression in the workplace.

The review found that the economy could benefit from a £24bn-a-year boost if BAME people had the same opportunities as their white colleagues. The review also called on companies with more than 50 employees to publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay band.

The findings of the research, to be carried out by the charity Business in the Community (BITC), will show what action employers are taking to prevent bullying and harassment of BAME people in the workplace and whether companies report their ethnicity pay gap. This will help to establish whether any further action is needed to ensure workplaces are inclusive.

The one-year-on review is part of the Industrial Strategy’s ambition to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs and ensure people from all backgrounds can be successful in the workplace.

Business Minister, Andrew Griffiths, said:

“It is unacceptable that people are being held back in the workplace because of their ethnic background. This new research will establish what steps employers have taken to haul down workplace barriers and harness the talent of a diverse workforce, helping us to assess if further action is needed.”

Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community, said:

“Now we will see if the recommendations we made in 2015 are being put into practice by employers and what impact that is having on BAME employees across the UK. I also welcome the government’s commitment to support the survey and championing of the race equality agenda.”

Baroness McGregor-Smith, who conducted the McGregor-Smith review of race in the workplace, said:

“This one-year-on review of the government’s report on race in the workplace gives us the opportunity to take stock of progress and consider if stronger actions are needed for us to see change.”

The McGregor-Smith Review 2017 outlined 26 recommendations on areas such as raising transparency and celebrating success, to help increase black and ethnic minorities’ participation and progression in the workplace.

In response to these recommendations, the government has worked closely with Business in the Community and others to develop a guide to talking about race at work, created an online portal of best practice and found ways to celebrate success such as the top BAME employers list.