From education to employment

Birmingham Business School awarded funding for research to overcome barriers for ethnic minority doctors in the NHS


Academics from the Work Inclusivity Research Centre at the University of Birmingham Business, led by Dr Etlyn Kenny, have been awarded a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to drive their research into examining the experience of minority ethnic doctors in the workplace.

Dr Etlyn Kenny specialises in ethnicity and social class in the workplace and will use innovative methods to begin work on the project titled,Exploring minority ethnic doctors’ career transitions in medicine: a life course approach’, funded via the ESRC Transforming Working Lives call.  Dr Etlyn Kenny’s focus at the University of Birmingham Business School, on improving workplace experiences for minority groups, encapsulates the school’s strength in research to support responsible business and into building a responsible future.

Medicine is, within the UK, one of the most ethnically diverse professions but despite this, evidence suggests that ethnic minority doctors still face more challenges to their career progression than their white counterparts. The project will provide an in-depth understanding of how ethnic minority doctors transition through the various stages of a medical career in the UK from A Level students to consultants and how ethnicity, nationality, social class and gender impact their career opportunities and progression. The project will utilise a life course perspective giving the opportunity for enhanced understanding on how careers are shaped and the possibility to design appropriate interventions to reduce barriers. 

The project will seek to discover what barriers they face and what strategies contribute to successfully being able to progress from one stage of a medical career to the next.  Research and results will be used to increase understanding, reduce barriers and improve the career support to ethnic minority doctors and to help to improve doctor retention in the NHS.

ESRC’s Interim Executive Chair, Professor Alison Park, said:

“The world of work is changing rapidly. Understanding how and why it is changing, and how this affects workers’ lives, will help policymakers, businesses and employees to navigate key challenges, including how to help people to progress in their careers and how to enhance gender equality in the workplace.

“These seven new research projects will collaborate and coordinate with one another, enhancing the collective impact of ESRC’s investment.”

Dr Etlyn Kenny, Associate Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour says,

“This is a really exciting opportunity, and we are grateful to the ESRC for funding our project.  Issues of retention and support for UK doctors are likely to increase in importance in the post-pandemic years. As ethnic minority doctors are a key cohort of this workforce, and a group that has traditionally have faced obstacles with progression, it is urgent and appropriate for us to examine in some depth how ethnic minority doctors transition through their careers.”

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