Employers accept diverse future

The overwhelming majority of large UK employers now see the business case for diversity, according to annual benchmarking data from lobby group Race for Opportunity.

Almost all (91%) of the 104 employers who took part in the report said they recognised that there was a clear case for diversity, up from 38% in 2001.

Most employers (93%) also said they had a race champion at board level – a 10% increase from five years ago.

More than two-thirds (69%) of survey participants said they had requested their suppliers to provide details on race diversity policies.

Speaking at the launch of the report last week, Allan Leighton, chairman of Race for Opportunity, urged employers to be more proactive in managing diversity within their workforces.

“The private and public sector organisations can no longer ignore ethnic minorities in this country,” he said.

“While it is fundamental that companies have policies for race diversity, the greater challenge is for companies to show real and measurable progress and translate this into increased racial representation across the organisation.”

Leighton, who is also chairman of Royal Mail, said chief executives and board members needed to champion the equality agenda to drive change.

“Developing business practice that addresses race is a no-brainer,” he said.

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