Black livelihoods matter: Less than 2% of top management roles are held by black employees

  • Little change in number of black people in senior professional roles since 2014 representing just 1.5% of managers, directors and senior officials in the UK
  • Just 1% of journalists, senior civil servants, judges, academics and the police force are black
  • Businesses need to remove barriers to progression for BAME employees

Updated figures from Business in the Community’s 2014 report Race at the Top show that despite black people making up more than 3% of the population in England and Wales, there has been little success over the past decade in addressing the lack of diverse representation in senior leadership roles.

In top management roles across private sector organisations just 1.5% are black, an increase of 0.1% per cent since 2014. Public sector leadership remains static at 1% and 62% of charity boards are all-white.

One area where representation has improved is in politics where there are currently 65 MPs in the UK who are black, Asian or minority ethnicities (BAME), rising from 27 in 2010. However, there are no black Cabinet ministers.

Just 1% of the police force identifies as black African or black Caribbean, and there are no appeal court judges who are black (out of 39).

Today commemorates 72 years since the arrival of Caribbean migrants on the HMT Empire Windrush ship and a major landmark in Britain’s multi-cultural history. This anniversary comes at a time when racial inequality is at the front of everyone’s minds with the ongoing #BlackLivesMatters protests.

Sandra Kerr CBE, race director at Business in the Community, said:

“Twenty-five years on from the Business in the Community’s Race Equality Campaign being launched, it is clear that black people continue to be under-represented at a senior level. This lack of diverse leadership has a direct impact on decision-making. This is more crucial than ever when the evidence shows that BAME people continue to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“Black livelihoods matter and employers need to take urgent action to ensure that their organisation is inclusive and a place where people of any ethnic background can thrive and succeed.”


Notes to editors

To find out more, contact Cathy Beveridge, Media and External Affairs Manager, Business in the Community on 07776 181945 or

About Business in the Community
Business in the community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.

We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

  • develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow
  • build thriving communities where people want to live and work
  • innovate to sustain and repair our planet.