From education to employment

Government review into ethnic minority progression in the workplace

Baroness McGregor-Smith

Results will assess progress made by employers on recommendations in the independent McGregor-Smith Review.

The government has today (21 February 2018) commissioned research into what steps employers have taken to remove barriers to workplace progression for ethnic minorities.

  • Research will show what action employers are taking to remove barriers to progression and prevent workplace bullying and harassment
  • findings will reveal whether companies are reporting their ethnicity pay gap – a key recommendation of the McGregor-Smith Review into race in the workplace
  • review is part of Industrial Strategy’s ambition to create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK

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 £24 billion-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 – we want to make sure that the economy works for everyone, so people have the same opportunities to progress and can achieve their true potential.

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.

I would like to thank both Business in the Community and Baroness McGregor-Smith for helping to shine a light on this important issue.

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

I’m delighted that we are running the Race at Work survey again in 2018. We received an overwhelming response to the original survey in 2015, which highlighted that this is an issue that people want to talk about.

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.

I welcome the involvement of Business in the Community in delivering this review and am interested to see what it will reveal about the experiences of BAME employees in the UK.

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.

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