THE HEAD of a campaign committed to improving employment opportunities for ethnic minorities across the UK has called for more diversity in the workplace especially at board level.
Sandra Kerr, the national campaign director of Race for Opportunity (RFO), urged employers to embrace ethnic diversity and to help create role models.
Kerr said: “In this country we do not really talk about race and ethnicity because we find it too uncomfortable.
“The media and politicians are happy to talk about it in terms of progress but not when looking for solutions.
“Employers need to understand it is okay to discuss race and that it can be used as a competitive advantage.”
Kerr said HR needs to be at the heart of getting ethnic minorities into senior levels, but said the agenda still needs to be driven from the top.
The director added: “Surely a company’s workforce should reflect their customer base. If you can alter your own sub-text, break the myth you have created and break up stereotypes, then you can have access to a huge pool of talent.”
According to RFO research, currently one in 16 FTSE 100 board members are from a BME background and one in eight employers in the UK are from BME groups.
Kerr said employers are just beginning to scratch the surface on this issue, but does not advocate the UK introduce quotas for more BME on company boards.
“One of the main reasons there is only a small number of ethnic minority workers reaching board level is to do with an unconscious bias in the recruitment process,” she said.
Kerr’s comments to HR Magazine follow the RFO Awards held on (October 8) in which EDF Energy and the Crown Prosecution Service both picked up awards for diversity and inclusion.
Source: The Voice – http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/businesses-can-use-diversity-advantage
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