Race for Opportunity (RfO), the Business in the Community campaign promoting the business case for racial diversity, tomorrow publishes its 2008 Benchmarking Report.
This report, the only investigation of UK organisations’ attitudes to and action on race, describes the trends and challenges on ethnic diversity.
Also, the report ranks the ten organisations with the most improved racial diversity.
The 2008 benchmark is based on information provided to RfO by 85 of its 170 members: 55 organisations from the private sector and 30 from the public sector.
The combined workforce of the organisations evaluated is 1.6million and represents 4.7% of the UK’s total working-age population.
Underpinning nearly all action on race is an organisations’ understanding of the business case for race diversity. This is a case that has rapidly gained in currency since it was first measured in 2001.
Now 92% of businesses claim to have mapped-out the business case for race diversity compared to 38% in 2001. Knowing that investing in race diversity ‘pays’, organisations are committing to, amongst other things, recruiting more ethnic minorities.
Recruiting and retaining talent from ethnic minorities is, as in previous editions of the benchmark, high among the priorities set by organisations.
A new trend, however, is for companies within the same industry to work in partnership to attract Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people.
In the case of investment banking, For example, investment banks now partner with Sponsors for Educational Opportunities to deliver an internship programme and law firms are working collaboratively with Target Chances.
Also, more companies (88%) are now making use of 2001 Census data to help them reflect local communities within their workforce.
This includes global organisations which historically viewed themselves as separate from local demographic arguments.
However, despite an increase in the number of ethnic minorities recruited to low level positions within companies, there has been little or no movement of ethnic minority people into senior management positions.
Ethnic minorities remain under represented on the boards of companies in the UK.
Understanding of ethnic minorities, as employees and as customers, is also growing. 62% of employers now provide training for managers on religion and belief, helping employees to better appreciate cultural and religious sensitivities.
nd 86% of organisations now market explicitly to ethnic minorities, recognising their purchasing capability.
Sandra Kerr, National Director of Race for Opportunity, says:
“The Benchmarking report 2008 is hugely encouraging and companies are to be congratulated for embracing race diversity. Great efforts have been made with recruitment and retention in particular to make workforces more reflective of the national and local populations.
“In addition, the developing practice of competing organisations working in partnership to access the best of ethnic minority talent demonstrates how committed companies are to the race agenda. But challenges remain, none more striking than the absence of ethnic minorities from senior management and board positions in UK companies.”
Top 10 overall performers in 2008 are:
1. Lloyds TSB
3. West Bromwich Building Society
5. Royal Bank of Scotland Group
7. Department for Work and Pensions
8. Lehman Brothers
Mike Fairey, deputy chief executive at Lloyds TSB commented:
“At Lloyds TSB diversity is on the agenda at the most senior levels in the organisation and by taking part in the RfO benchmarking report we want to ensure that the bar continues to be raised for diversity best practice.”
“As the UK population becomes increasingly diverse it makes commercial sense for our organisation to reflect this change, both in terms of the talent we attract and the products and services we offer. People are central to our business so it’s essential we understand and cater for the changing needs of our customers.”