Black and ethnic minority (BME) staff in Britain feel professions including politics, the police and the armed forces are closed off to them, a new report has found.
Business in the Community’s Race for Opportunity campaign conducted a survey of 1,500 people from the main ethnic groups living in Britain, and found perceptions of racism stopped ethnic minority staff from applying to these professions.
The study showed no profession was seen as being devoid of racism.
Nearly half of those surveyed saw the police as a racist profession and this rose to 72% for black Caribbeans.
More than a quarter also cited politics as another problem area, and this increased to 39% for black Caribbeans.
As well as perceptions of racism, the lack of role models and family disapproval was also found to contribute towards many of the best-paid professions being disregarded as genuine career options by ethnic minority workers.
Half of those surveyed from an ethnic minority background said they were not interested in joining the armed forces, while 38% ruled out the police and 44% a career in politics.
More than a fifth also reported having been offended by a racial remark in their place of work.
Sandra Kerr, national campaign director for Race for Opportunity, said: “The results from the survey show there is still much work to be done, and are a call to action for politicians, policy makers, employers and educators to look harder at how they can ensure these professions are seen as truly equal opportunity employers.
“The challenge is to ensure that for ethnic minority candidates, the door to the City law firm is as open as the call centre, and that being a public leader is as normal as sitting behind a supermarket till.”
People from BME backgrounds make up 10.3% of the population but only 8.5% of the workforce and just 6.3% of management positions.