British business silent on diversity at management level


The CMI and the British Academy of Management says that many top British companies must break their silence on the under-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) at management level.

The joint publication, Delivering Diversity, finds that only 6% of management jobs across the UK are held by minorities – less than half of the proportion of the working age population as a whole.

Previous relevant analysis indicates that if BAME individuals were fully represented across the labour market, it would be worth £24bn annually to the UK economy. HR leaders know the business case for diversity, with 75% citing improved corporate performance the No.1 reason for taking action on diversity. Yet none of the companies responding to the survey gave their business a ‘very good’ rating for performance on BAME.

The research also highlights how many minority managers find themselves asking how they are perceived to fit within their company, and BAME managers interviewed in-depth often perceive their businesses as silent on race and ethnicity. One BAME manager described expectations about leaders still favouring “white middle class men from elite schools and universities, who tend to recruit people like them in their company”.   

In reviewing websites and online materials for every FTSE100 business, researchers found just 15 companies that demonstrate consistent good practice in commitment to delivering BAME diversity.

As a result, businesses may be missing out on a more diverse set of talented leaders.

The study finds that only 54% of FTSE100 leaders are seen to be actively championing greater diversity within their companies. Just 21% reveal their current diversity levels by publishing progression charts and data.

The joint publication also highlights how many companies are unclear about the diversity of their management pipeline. 83% of those HR leaders asked, admitted that they need better data on BAME diversity to be able to drive improvement.

While 75% of the FTSE 100 companies surveyed now set progression targets for gender and 71% publish related data, just 21% do so on BAME, with almost half saying they expect to set targets in the coming year.

The report concludes that business needs more varied role models and more widespread use of powerful interventions like mentoring and sponsorship to promote diversity.

CMI has announced its intention to develop a new network, CMI Race. Chaired by Pavita Cooper, the founder of diversity and talent advisory firm, More Difference, the network will help managers across the UK deliver diversity.

She said: “This research shows that even today, in modern multicultural Britain, many managers still feel deeply nervous talking about race and ethnic diversity at work. Every manager in the UK should be able to talk about difference with their teams in an inclusive way, and we need to see far more leadership from senior business leaders on this issue. CMI’s new network, CMI Race, will put diversity and inclusion at the heart of good management and drive real change in the years ahead.”

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Share this article

Any questions? Any comments?

Your instant reactions to this article can be posted here. Use your own name or a nom de plume.

Be the first to make a comment...

Please log in to make a comment

Already registered?

Haven't registered?

Register for FREE - it only takes a couple of minutes

Not registered? Click here.