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Black Employees hold just 1.5 percent of senior roles

The employment law team at SHU Law are often asked to advise on aspects of the Equality Act which includes the rules to prevent discrimination on grounds of Race and sets out guidance to promote Positive Action.

A Business in the Community (BITC) report Race at the Top: Revisited (bitc.org.uk/news) has found that only 54,000 out of 3.9 million managers, directors and senior officials in the UK are black. Since their first report in 2014 the researchers found that this figure has only increased by 0.1 per cent. The figure of 1.5 per cent of black people in senior roles drops down to 1 per cent in the public sector where the figure has remained static; this is despite the fact that s. 1 of the Equality Act expressly requires the public sector to make decisions that have regard to reducing the inequalities of outcome that result from socio-economic disadvantage.

The representation of black people was especially poor in the police force (1 percent) and none of the 39 appeal court judges in England and Wales are black.

The proportion of top private sector roles held by employees with black, asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds has increased by 1 percent, rising from 9.2 per cent of all senior positions in 2014 to 10.3 per cent today. The report comments that “lack of diverse leadership has a direct impact on decision-making” and concludes that “Black livelihoods matter and employers need to take urgent action to ensure that their organisation is inclusive and a place where people of any ethnic background can thrive and succeed”.

Separately, in a letter published in the Sunday Times on 21st June 2020 business leaders from 29 companies, including Tesco, John Lewis and ITV said that more needed to be done to address the lack of ethnic diversity at the top of UK businesses. Their letter included a pledge to set targets to improve BAME representation at all levels of their companies.

If you need help and legal advice on discrimination in the workplace contact SHU Law on 0114 225 6666 / 0114 225 5891.

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