BAME BOSS

Ethnic Minority Aspirations
of Being on the Board

January 2019 | Report

Equality Group has commissioned nationally representative research that delves into UK ethnic minority citizens, their career aspirations and the inequalities that persist within the world of work. This research is launched amidst latest industry data that shows only 84 of the 1,048 directors in the FTSE100, originate from an ethnic minority.

Contextualised by the disconcerting fact that there are more directors called Dave or Steve within these 100 companies than there are women or ethnic minorities, this timely research unveils a damning insight and ever-present reality that impacts almost 8 million Brits attempting to succeed in the UKs professional arena. Underpinned by an overwhelming drive to succeed in positions of seniority, the study commissioned by Equality Group- an organisation that helps companies attract, retain and develop diverse talent- unveils majority sentiments of ambition, academic prowess and unwavering perseverance propelling the UK ethnic minority workplace forward. Whether this sentiment is met by an academic and/or professional infrastructure is questioned significantly given that 46% -2.5 million- ethnic minority citizens were encouraged to commence their career in a role that did not reflect their career aspirations or academic credentials at that time.

As cited by the University of Leicester in 2017, students from ethnic minority groups have, academically, significantly improved over the last two decades and are achieving higher grades than the national average. With this in mind, it is important to assess ethnic minority experience upon leaving education in order to understand how such stark differences within the professional career ladder has occurred.

Ethnic Minority Aspirations of Being on the Board

59% of ethnic minority citizens aspire to be on the board BUT only 2% make it

55% ethnic minority Brits have been advised to be ‘more realistic’ about their career aspirations

Half of the UK’s ethnic minorities have stated that they have no prominent professional role models of their ethnicity

46% of ethnic minorities advised to commence a career NOT relevant to their skills or interests

50% of BAME Brits in 2018 are the first in their family to attend higher education- verses 26% of non-ethnic minorities

Key statistics

Over 3 million ethnic minority Brits (59%) aspired upon leaving school of securing a role at senior management, director and/or board level

Half of ethnic minority respondents noted that there are no prominent role models of their ethnic profile in positions they aspire/ have aspired to reach professionally

58% -over 3 million- ethnic minority citizens stated that they had friends and family role models who they considered aspirational in relation to their career progression

Over half, 55% -almost 3 million-ethnic minority citizens declared that they were advised to be more realistic in regards of their career goals by those who influenced their career, compared to only 19% of non-minority ethnic citizens

46% -2.5 million- ethnic minority citizens were encouraged to commence their career in a role that did not reflect their career aspirations or academic credentials at that time

Three quarters of minority respondents, 75%- almost 4 million people-noted that their professional success is down to personal merit, conviction and perseverance and not the guidance of academic or professional support

50% of ethnic minority respondents were the first generation within their family to attend university verses only 26% of non-ethnic respondents

46% – two and a half million- ethnic minority citizens stated they would feel supported if there is ethnic minority representation at board/director level as they believe it would aid their career progression in a fairer manner

BAME vs Non-BAME Aspirations, Assistance, and Work

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

• I felt I had clear guidance from teachers, professors and career advisors regarding the choices I should make to get the career I wanted.

BAME

49% agree

NON BAME

49% agree

BAME Boss Roundtable Discussion

Based on the above report Equality Group hosted a roundtable discussion with thought leaders within Finance and Tech industries, allowing a platform for professionals to talk about the problem at hand, the research statistics in addition to assessing how the UK can begin to progress and ensure diverse talent thrives at all stages of the professional ladder. The practical solutions that came out of the discuission were as follows:

5 MUST- DO’S

1. Education, Education, Education

Create a safe space for bold and confident discussions around race issues

Be clear on intent; open and honest in conversation

Examine and assess the language you are currently using and whether it works

Get the right people around the table (i.e. senior leaders, junior team members, as wide a range of ethnic diversity as possible)

Start with the key decision makers at the firm

Get the senior leadership to spearhead the education process across the firm

Educate everyone in the company about the value of diversity and the particular importance of BAME talent

2. Radical Recruitment

Have clear targets for the percentage of BAME candidates, i.e. 10% of a shortlist

Expand into a broader search pool – partner with networks and firms who can help

Identify different ways to evaluate diverse talent and train the interviewers and managers (do not expect them to know how to do this)

Contextualised recruiting: understanding the local demographic and how to assess their performance

3. Know Your Data

Ensure you know your data and understand exactly where you currently stand

Put in place an appropriate system for collecting and measuring the data

Set clear and achievable targets

Share the targets and the anonymised data with the firm to create greater levels of transparency

Ensure that you are accountable with your data

4. Unconscious Bias

Ensure training on an unconscious bias with ongoing refreshers

Apply the methodologies of dealing with unconscious bias

Remind individuals at any key-decision making junctures about the importance of unconscious bias and the impact it has on all of us

5. Relationships & Role Models

Raise the profile of key BAME professionals in your firm

Encourage role models to tell their stories within the organisation different mediums (e.g. videos, lunch and learns, podcasts etc)

Join networks, panels, events and power lists that will promote your key BAME talent

Build structured and coordinated mentorship programmes

Consider reverse mentoring across the organisation

BAME on BAME mentoring + BAME on Non-BAME mentoring

5 GOOD-TO-DO’S

1. Appreciate Intersectionality

Breaking down BAME into which minorities it covers, e.g. Black, South East Asian

Ensure intersectionality within the ethnic groups

Ensure that understanding of the minority backgrounds and differences are included in the reporting

Understand and appreciate cultural differences

Consider social mobility factors that overlap with BAME

2. Collaborative Events & Celebrations

Organise and attend networking events with diverse candidates and board level management

Organising events for the full range of diverse talent

Celebrate as a firm at key points in the year, i.e. Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Pride etc.

3. Early Outreach

Programmes in schools

Encouraging and supporting young talent

Soft skills programmes

Look at targeting communities and areas with strong BAME representation to help build an early talent pipeline and affinity with an organisation

4. Sponsorship & Coaching

Build upon successful mentoring programmes with sponsorship training

Ensure emerging talent have trained sponsors

Make coaching available at key points in the career and look at who your coaches are (do they reflect the talent you want to develop)

5. BAME & Your Brand

Examine the representation of BAME in your brand

Create marketing/social media campaigns associated with BAME agenda

Hephzi Pemberton, Founder and CEO

“This report makes it clear that ethnic minority students have strong support structures available to them throughout their educational careers. However, there seems to be a significant deficit upon entering the world of work. This research indicates that young ethnic minority students have significant levels of professional aspiration, supported by an educational infrastructure, that should, in theory, enable them to excel within their chosen professional careers. This is however far from the reality when assessing the UK’s BAME representation at senior management, board and director level. It is a shocking reality that in 2018, the workplace does not nurture and support BAME talent in a manner that reflects the undeniable aspirations prominent in this community. As a society of business leaders, decision-makers, professionals & commentators, we have an obligation to ensure that intention is met with action to ensure the UK’s workforce – in its entirety – has access to a democratised career ladder that promotes inclusion for all at every level.” – Hepzhi Pemberton

About Equality Group

Equality Group harnesses the power of diverse leaders for Finance, Technology and Social Impact. They change the business landscape by widening the range of exceptional candidates and offering them unique leadership opportunities. Their consultancy service helps companies attract, retain and develop diverse talent, which our Executive Search service headhunts.

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