Time to adopt more stringent policies on racial inequality in the workplace, research study shows

Recent years have seen many of the most successful organisations celebrate the positive impact of diversity on their businesses. Yet despite this, racial inequality is still a feature in the British labour market, a new review of evidence on workplace discrimination shows.

The review, commissioned by the Mary Seacole Trust (MST) was carried out on an independent and voluntary basis by healthcare researcher Dr Habib Naqvi. Dr Naqvi drew together findings from some of the many recent high-profile reports on race equality and inclusion in the workplace.

He concludes that the answer lies in the use of mandatory diversity policies in both private and public sector organisations, with data-driven accountability to back it up, plus the development of a compassionate and learning culture.

Dr Naqvi said: “Inequality in the workplace is unacceptable, yet it remains a historically resilient feature of the British labour market – the evidence is there. This is a multi-factorial challenge that requires a multi-factorial response – real, evidence-based interventions, data-driven accountability for managers, and a change in organisational culture to ensure that all staff feel respected, valued, engaged and supported.”

Nurse Karen Bonner, chair of the MST Diversity in Leadership project, commented:” The message is clear and simple: greater diversity in your organisation leads to greater diversity of thought which, in turn, generates innovative approaches to achieving organisational success. There is clear recognition that voluntary approaches have not provided the society-wide impact that we need on this important agenda.”

MST has organised a round table discussion involving key figures from across the private and public sectors to discuss the actions needed to tackle workplace inequality. Discussions at the summit in November will be based on findings from Dr Naqvi’s review.

This review outlines the key findings from a number of reports, including: Race at Work (Business in the Community); Equality, Diversity and Racism in the Workplace: A Qualitative Analysis of the Race at Work Survey; Race in the Workplace (The McGregor-Smith Review); A Report into the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards (The Parker Review); Insecure Work and Ethnicity (TUC Report). The review also critically examines key workplace race equality interventions from across the public and private sectors.

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