A shocking new report confirms that discrimination within the UK labour market, particularly in the best paid professions remains a major problem.
Racism in the labour market is one of the biggest barrier’s to black and ethnic minority employment and promotion in the private sector.
Black communities have always believed that black professionals have had to work twice as hard as their white counterparts and this important study by Business in the Community proves this to be true.
The study demonstrates that despite having a stronger work ethic and being better qualified, black professionals still face huge barriers to employment and promotion.
The study due to be published tomorrow asked 1500 people of all ethnicities which professions they saw as being more discriminatory.
40% would not join either the police or enter into politics.
The report concludes:
“What is deeply concerning is that blatant racism still exists in parts of the world of work — so organisations need to do more to combat that and ensure employees know it is unacceptable.”
Of those questioned:
“50% thought the police were racist, amongst African Caribbean’s this rose to a massive 72%; 36% believed the army to be racist; 30% believed politics to be racist; 16% thought the legal profession to be racist; 25% said they would not consider applying for professional positions.”
Ethnic minorities make up 10.3% of the population, but 8.5% of the workforce and just 6.3% of those in management jobs.
This report confirms findings in the report published by the Business Commission in 2007 entitled Race Equality in the Workplace.
The report called on Government to close the employment gap between black and white that at the time of publication was 16% demonstrating that only 60% of black and ethnic minorities were in employment.
The previous Government then established the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force chaired by MP Jim Knight. The target was to reduce the employment gap by 2032. In February of this year the percentage gap had dropped to 14% but as the economy continues to suffer that figure is expected to rise as black unemployment increases.
A Task Force Advisory Group was established to inform the efforts of Government in seeking to reduce umemployment. The chair of the group Iqbal Wahhab, a successful Asian businessman threatened to resign in protest at the lack of progress being made by the Task Force.
Speaking to the Guardian Newspaper in September 2009 Iqbal said:
“Every three months a ministerial taskforce meets for an hour with me, the TUC, the CBI, the London Development Agency’s diversity works for London programme and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In all that time, we have never been able to convince ministers to take a single step forward.”
“Last year the chancellor backed the recommendations of a business commission report that called on the government to eradicate the employment rate disparity for ethnic minorities within 25 years and this taskforce was charged with ensuring that happens. I doubt we will even come close.”
Iqbal subsequently decided to stay on as Chair after reassurance from Government that more effort would be made by Government departments in tackling the unemployment gap. However, in the last 9 months with the economic slowdown, employment prospects for black and ethnic minorities will have undoubtedly declined further.
We shall wait to see the response for the Department of Communities and Local Government who funded the report, and whether or not both the Task Force and Advisory Group will remain or be replaced.
By Lester Holloway @brolezholloway