Race lobby group calls for radical action to boost minority managers

Urgent action is required to boost the number of ethnic minority managers in UK workplaces, according to an equality lobbying group.

A study by Race for Opportunity – part of the Business in the Community campaign group of employers – analysed office labour market statistics between 2000 and 2007, and found ethnic minorities have not been gaining the share of jobs that their proportion in the wider UK population would justify. The gap between the overall ethnic minority population and those in managerial positions is even greater, with the report warning that, based on current trends, ethnic minority managers will never be in line with their representation in the wider population.

The Race to the Top report showed that more than one in 10 of the UK population comes from an ethnic minority group, yet just one in 15, or 6.8%, were in a management position at the end of 2007.

If the current growth rate continues over the next seven years, then by 2015, just 11.2% of the UK’s ethnic minority population will be in management positions.

Sandra Kerr, national campaign director at Race for Opportunity, said: “Barack Obama won the most high-profile management post in the world with the slogan ‘Yes, we can’. The evidence we have found from this research is that without major and urgent policy intervention or action from businesses, the message to ethnic minorities aspiring to management in the UK is ‘No, you won’t’.

“The disappointing implication is that there may still be a colour bar to management jobs in the UK 33 years after the passing of the landmark Race Relations Act of 1976.”

While the past seven years have seen a dramatic rise in the number of ethnic minority managers employed in the public sector – from 25.7% to 33.2% – there have been falls or stagnation in all other sectors. The report said just three sectors accounted for almost 80% of all ethnic minority workers in management positions: public administration, education and health.

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