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Promotion of BAME faces in workplace backed by major brands

DIVERSITY: Big businesses urge promotion of BAME faces to the boardroom and across the workplace

THE BANK of England, HSBC and Tesco have backed a drive to improve career progression opportunities for people of Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Other organisations pushing for greater equality of opportunity include the NHS, MediaCom, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Baker McKenzie, Lloyds Banking Group and The London Ambulance Service.

HSBC’s UK CEO said the bank plans to continue to shift from ‘talk to action’ with strong plans in place to make its culture even more diverse and inclusive.

The organisations have made their pledges in advance of attending the Investing in Ethnicity and Race conference this October. The conference comes on the back of a government review which found that lack of BAME talent in executive positions is costing the economy £24bn a year.

The Race in the Workplace study, led by Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, discovered that the employment rate for people of BAME backgrounds (62.8%) is 12% lower than that of their white counterparts, with just 6% landing executive jobs.

Some 58% of FTSE 100 boards have no minority presence, with white women 20 times more likely be a Chair, CEO or CFO than an ethnic minority woman. Among FTSE 100 companies, senior day-to-day management is less ethno-culturally diverse year-on-year.*

Ian Stuart, CEO UK, HSBC said:“The race and ethnicity agenda is of great importance to HSBC and I believe that having a diverse and inclusive culture is key to our business success.

“While we have a lot more to do, we are making progress and have a strong plan to continue the shift from talk to action.

“Our ambition to become the bank of choice for both our customers and people, drives us to new ways of working that helps foster an open culture better suited to a changing society.

“We are a global organisation that greatly values the diversity of the markets that we operate in and we want to work more closely with organisations that are investing in this agenda to make a real impact for the bank and beyond.

Rob Elsey, the Bank of England’s Chief Information Officer, added his voice to the new initiative:

“The Bank values the different perspectives, ideas and open debate that having a diverse workforce brings. Focusing on the BAME agenda as part of our wider Inclusion strategy gives us the opportunity to ensure we are representative across all levels of the Bank with a good pipeline of talent for the future."

"Our efforts in this space help us to achieve our mission of attracting the best people to public service and reflecting the diversity of the UK.”

Benny Higgins, CEO Tesco Bank & Tesco Executive Committee Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion:

“At Tesco, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive business, where we reflect the communities we serve and where everybody is treated as they like to be treated."

"We recognise the true benefit a diverse colleague base brings to our business, supporting us in creating innovate products for our customers and in our ability to overcome challenges."

“We’re proud to support the Investing in Ethnicity and Race Initiative at Tesco – this is an important element of our journey to be a truly inclusive brand and employer.”

Founder of the Investing in Ethnicity & Race initiative, Sarah Garrett MBE, believes boardrooms and workforces need to reflect the diversity of British society. She said:

“Diversity is so often a rarity at the top table. Almost six out of ten
FTSE 100 boards have no minority presence. BAME graduates are less likely to become employed than their white counterparts. Some 60% of black employees feel their career development has failed to meet their expectations.

“The Investing in Ethnicity & Race initiative applauds Tesco, HSBC and the Bank of England for taking substantive steps towards ensuring the make-up of our society is reflected at all levels in their companies.

“The McGregor-Smith Report showed that poor equality of opportunity has cost the economy dear, and businesses now need to act. We’re pushing for the more than 50 companies attending the conference to take those actions back to the workplace.”

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