Ethnic staff figures still low

Leading UK companies continue to have an under-representation of ethnic minority
staff and many exaggerate the effectiveness of their diversity policies,
according to a study of FTSE 100 firms by consultancy Schneider-Ross.

The report found a serious lack of representation of black and Asian staff
in company management with only 1 per cent of senior managers and 3.2 per cent
of junior and middle managers coming from ethnic minorities.

Although the report does not name companies with a poor record,
Schneider-Ross has highlighted only a small number of the FTSE 100 for
implementing good practice. Overall, 65 out of the 100 took part in the study.

Robin Schneider, managing director of Schneider-Ross, said, "The
sectors that are behind are those that are that much more distant from the
consumer."

More worrying for many HR professionals will be the fact that in a number of
companies there was a divergence of views between staff and management on the
representation of ethnic minorities in the organisation.

Schneider said many companies which believed their procedures to be
merit-based were actually imbued with definitions that were culturally biased.

Another developing trend is the concern among ethnic minorities about being
relocated to other European countries such as Germany, Austria and to a lesser
extent France. In contrast there were generally favourable perceptions of the
US and Canada.

But Schneider said most multi-national companies had not even started
thinking about implementing group-wide strategies.

By Tom Powdrill

Good diversity records

• Barclays

• Boots

• British Airways

• BT

• HSBC

• LloydsTSB

• NatWest

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