UK economy could benefit from £24bn boost if BME workplace progression increased

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The UK economy could benefit from a boost of £24 billion a year if black and minority ethnic (BME) people progressed in work at the same rate as their white counterparts, according to a government-backed review.

The Baroness McGregor-Smith review found that people from BME backgrounds are still being held back in the workplace because of the colour of their skin, which is costing the UK economy the equivalent of 1.3 per cent in GDP a year.

The review also revealed that employment rates for people from BME backgrounds are 12 per cent lower than their white counterparts at 62.8 per cent, with just six per cent reaching top level management.

People from BME backgrounds are also more likely to work in lower paid and lower skilled jobs despite being more likely to have a degree.

The review is now calling for companies with more than 50 employees to publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay band; to draw up five-year aspirational diversity targets; and to nominate a board member to deliver on these targets.

Speaking about the release of the review, Baroness McGregor-Smith said, “The time for talk on race in the workplace is over, it’s time to act.”

“No-one should feel unable to reach the top of any organisation because of their race.”

“If businesses and the Government act on my recommendations, it will show everyone from a minority background that Britain’s workplace is for everyone not just the privileged few.”

“The consequence of continuing to do nothing will be damaging to the economy and to the aspirations of so many.”

“So from the Cabinet table to the board rooms, there is no more time for excuses – just change.”

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Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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