Significant change in recruitment policies necessary to address persistent BAME employment gap

Responding to this morning's release of labour market statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community said: “Whilst the Government’s plan to tackle the BAME pay gap for men and women is welcome, today’s figures show that there is still a persistent BAME employment gap – and correcting this requires a significant step change in employers’ recruitment policy. We would ask all employers to examine their policies on recruitment and take steps to ensure they are fair, including diverse panels where possible, advertising vacancies using a wide range of channels and monitoring the number of BAME candidates at each stage of the process.

“Additionally, we hope that the Race Equality Unit, which is currently looking at racial disparities linked to different ethnic groups’ experiences of the public sector, reveals information around representation gaps in different industries. This will enable employers to take personal ownership of their actions but also consider collaborative sector-wide approaches, which will increase diversity and BAME representation where this falls short of the national and local populations.

“There are many organisations in the UK who are leading on workplace race equality and inclusion, and Business in the Community is celebrating these organisations through the first Best 100 Employers for Race listing. Entry is free and open to UK employers of all sizes and from all sectors until Friday 2nd June, and I encourage all employers who are committed to tackling this issue to take part.”

Top line stats:

  • BAME employment rate for 16-64 year olds is 63.9% for Jan-Mar 2017 – down on previous three months (64.7% for Oct-Dec 2016) but up from the same period in 2016 (63.5%)
  • The BAME employment rate is increasing but there is still a persistent gap – the white employment rate is 76.5% for Jan-Mar 2017 (up from 76.4% in Oct-Dec 2016 and 75.6% in Jan-Mar 2016)
  • Employment rates have increased for all BAME ethnic groups year on year except Bangladeshi (down from 58% to 51.9%) and Chinese (down from 59.6% to 56.8%).
  • BAME unemployment rate for ages 16+ is 7.9% - down from 9.1% in Jan-Mar 2016 and 8% in Oct-Dec 2016. (For comparison, the white unemployment rate is 4.1% - same as for Oct-Dec 2016 and down from 4.5% in Jan-Mar 2016.)•  

The next release is due on 16th August. There will also be another release in mid-November