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Saturday, 2nd December 2023




We have very high calibre leaders from ethnic minorities - but research shows they fail to reach senior management. Why?

The RFO report, Race to the Top, researched and compiled by Race for Opportunity, is a survey of the representation of ethnic minorities in British Management. In its introduction, Sandra Kerr, explains: 'Barack Obama won the most important high profile management post in the world with the slogan 'Yes, We Can'. Without major and urgent policy intervention or action from business, the message to ethnic minorities aspiring to management in the UK is 'No You Won't'.

 The research compares data from a range of UK organisations, both public and private. In 2007, 10% of the British workforce was from BAME communities, but they had less than 7% of the total management posts. By 2015, the BAME population will grow to 15% but their share of the management posts will only be 11% - a decline is predicted. There is further analysis of variations by industry and regions - the public sector has a relatively higher proportion of BAME managers than any other sector. This could be driven by recent government push in this area and target setting. Banking comes second in the proportion of BAME managers. 'Numbers of BAME managers at the very top of business and politics are so small that it is hard to get meaningful data. This itself is an indication of the severity of the problem', argues the report.

What the report fails to consider is that in terms of educational and professional achievement, many BAME communities are at the very top of the ladder, and therefore, on grounds of pure merit, you would think that they would also be at the top of British management. Also, if Britain is a global player, companies and organisations which trade globally should have a very diverse senior management, out of proportion to their percentages of the UK population - ethnic diversity could be up to 80% and as a nation we are producing the leaders capable of managing such giant organisations. This is rarely the case, and a huge question mark on what is happening inside these so called global firms and businesses.

On the Diverse Ethics portal, we will demonstrate the impact of diversity in management, and show how effective leadership can make a huge difference in eliminating institutionalised cultures of discrimination which are often embedded in the very structures of organisations. Often a diverse leadership can be a huge bonus for the organisation in terms of performance and productivity.

Article added on 15th December 2009 at 11:55am