Minority employment targets need to be supported with cultural changes to succeed
Employment targets for minority groups should be supported by other initiatives, including a review of corporate culture and recruitment processes, if greater progress is to be made, diversity consultancy, The Clear Company has declared.
This follows a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which calls for the introduction of targets after it was revealed that ethnic minorities were still facing inequality in employment. The report found that unemployment rates were significantly higher for people from all other ethnic minorities (12.9%) compared with white British people (6.3%) in 2013.
This inequality was also prevalent in career progression, with the commission revealing that just 8.8% of those from an ethnic minority are working as Managers, Directors and senior professionals, compared to 10.7% of white British people.
Kate Headley, director at The Clear Company says this issue can’t be addressed by targets alone. She stated, “This report certainly highlights that the battle for employment equality is still raging on for ethnic minorities. While the commission’s recommendation that new targets be introduced will certainly be a huge help in combatting this issue, it needs to be supplemented with much more.
“In the first instance, the barriers to employment need to be addressed otherwise we could see more BAME individuals hired to meet targets, but subsequently greater staff churn as these individuals ‘bounce’ off the ingrained corporate culture that isn’t necessarily conducive to true equality.
“Secondly, there needs to be a system in place for employers whereby the potential for unconscious bias is minimised. While the likes of blind CVs have already been suggested, greater use of technology to remove some of the human preconceptions will also help improve the chances for ethnic minorities to gain employment.
“We certainly commend the action that is already being taken – which is making an impact, with the government reporting that black and ethnic minority employment rates are at their highest levels in 15 years – but we hope that with more companies committing to improving corporate cultures and the hiring process, true equality will be achievable across the board.”