British society is becoming more multiethnic and culturally diverse by the day. This is increasingly reflected in every aspect of popular culture from sport to fashion. But is it reflected where it counts most - in the boardrooms and middle management of companies and organisations, where black and minority ethnic workers can be strong role models for the upcoming generation aspiring to positions of real influence on British society? Business in the Community’s Race for Opportunity (RfO) campaign is committed to speeding up the progress of ethnic minority people in the workplace. To establish the scale of the challenge, we commissioned ground breaking research to find out exactly how much progress black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) have made in reaching the higher echelons of business and public services.
The findings in this research demonstrate that it is time for every organisation to look at their Boards and management teams and take action. In January this year, Barack Obama will be officially handed the most complex and high profile management job in the world - the Presidency of the United States - and will be thefirst African-American or indeed member of any ethnicminority to hold that post. Sadly Britain not only seems far from having its first BAME Prime Minister but is also failing to rid its workplace of the barriers that stop ethnic minority employees achieving management positions in sufficient numbers. Barack Obama won the most high profile management post in the world with the slogan “Yes, we can”. Without major and urgent policy intervention or action from businesses, the message to ethnic minorities aspiring to management in the UK is: “No, you won’t.” If we ever want to reflect the multicultural society in which we live - it will mean having an ethnic minority man or woman as Prime Minister and Chief Executiveof a FTSE 100 firm. To achieve this, action is required. The findings of this report clearly demonstrate the pace of change is too slow and it is up to those in power, particularly those in business, to ensure they extend opportunities for everyone.