Charity calls for business leaders to take up diversity challenge

A charity that campaigns to provide a “secure base for Britain’s minority ethnic communities” has called for effective leadership to promote diversity, after a poll revealed that almost nine in 10 recent graduates have experienced some kind of discrimination at work.

The Ethnic Minority Foundation, called for leaders to be held accountable for discrimination which, it says is “ruining the life chances of young people”.

It follows a survey of 200 graduates by recruitment site which found that 86% of had faced discrimination while working.

Race discrimination affected two in five respondents, with age discrimination affecting 14% and gender 12%. Other reasons for unfair treatment included sexual orientation and height.

One respondent said: “People like me coming from a different country or continent to study and then try to get a work placement here are very vulnerable, particularly if they are unfortunate enough to have employers or managers as ignorant as the one I [worked for].”

Krishna Sarda, chief executive of the Ethnic Minority Foundation, said: “It is a sad and depressing fact that in 21st century Britain, discrimination on ethnicity is rife and ruining the life chances of so many young people. We are in need of leaders that focus their diversity programmes on outcomes and are prepared to be held accountable for failures.”

The doomed Learning and Skills Council spent £230,000 on a two-year research project that demonstrated in December 2007 how a new diversity association could be funded and set-up.

The report revealed that 80% of 1,500 equality and diversity experts wanted a new body, yet just 16 weeks later, diversity practitioners on the government agency’s ‘interested parties’ list seem to have lost interest.

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