With 83% of HR leaders saying they need better data to drive progress on race – and only 6% of managers being of BAME origin – it’s clear steps need to be taken in our approach towards ethnic diversity within the workplace.
That was the stance at ENEI’s Race Equality Conference, where on October 17, thought leaders and subject matter experts from across the financial services, consultancy, government and education sectors gathered to discuss the profound disconnect between D&I strategy and race equality.
Conversation throughout the morning covered extensive debate on the legal and moral consequences of positive action, alongside the importance of addressing the ethnicity pay gap. PwC recently reported an ethnicity pay gap of 12.8%, while EY reported a median hourly gap of 9.8%. The benefits of BAME representation were also highlighted, with this demographic projected to be worth an added £24 billion per year to the UK economy.
It was interesting to hear practical advice for businesses looking to correct partiality in their hiring practices and D&I policies. Our key takeaways from the session included:
- The creation and promotion of a feedback culture
- Businesses having the confidence to talk about race and ethnicity openly
- Data monitoring at application, hiring and promotion stages
- Sponsorship of emerging BAME talent
- Storytelling: improving cultural dexterity within teams and businesses
- Promoting BAME role models
- Inclusive leadership training to help remedy biases
- Companies needing to encourage difference rather than similitude
Many companies in the industry are already reviewing their policies, with PwC leading the way. Their ‘Being Color Brave’ initiative exemplifies how large firms can break the silence on issues of ethnic diversity. “Companies should speak more openly about race, and how it's better for us personally, professionally, and for society as a whole.” PwC is spearheading the conversation, breaking down taboos to foster honest, frank communication about the importance of racial diversity at work.
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