Commissioned by Business in the Community to support its Race for Opportunity campaign, the report revealed that the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in top management positions has fallen.
There was a significant 22 per cent fall in BAME people occupying senior roles over the five-year period. Today, only one out of 16 people in top management positions are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The report, entitled Race at the Top: A Review of BAME Leadership in the UK, states that if current trends persist, leaders of businesses will not reflect the multicultural reality of modern Britain.
“By 2051, one in five people in the UK will be from an ethnic minority background, representing a scale of consumer spending and political voting power that business and government alike cannot afford to ignore,” explained Sandra Kerr OBE, campaign director for Race for Opportunity.
“The gap must not be allowed to widen further, but without action, little will change. I am calling on government for a ‘Lord Davies’ review to amplify understanding around the barriers BAME employees face in reaching management positions, and for two simple words – ‘and race’ – to be added to the UK Corporate Governance Code.”
The study stated that many sectors, including media, construction, legal and political, remain closed off to BAME people when it comes to top management positions.
Business in the Community is calling on all political parties to place race equality at the “front and centre” of their manifestos for next year’s general election and to act on some of the recommendations outlined in the report.
It is also urging all employers to attract and retain BAME employers through better recruitment (making “unconscious bias training” mandatory), leadership (setting targets for board recruitment of BAME talent) and progression (ensuring that the process of promotion is transparent).