Race and Recruitment: Exposing the Barriers

Learn about the four key challenges that Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates face when applying for jobs directly to an employer or through a recruitment agency.

This Business in the Community (BITC) report exposes four key statistics that demonstrate the challenge that Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates face when applying for jobs directly to an employer or through a recruitment agency.

These are:

  • 29% of the BAME candidates who applied through a recruitment agency were offered a job, compared to 44% of white applicants.
  • 57% of BAME applicants were invited to interviews through a recruitment agency, compared to 73% of white candidates.
  • When applying to directly to an employer, outcomes were more equal, with 29% of both BAME and white applicants securing jobs.
  • 91% of BAME applicants apply directly to employers, 88% of white applicants choose this route.

Our research identifies four areas for change mentioned by both white and BAME applicants – making progress here would make a difference for everyone.

These include:

  • feedback at each stage of the process to manage candidates’ expectations
  • feeling respected and included
  • having a single point of contact
  • availability of alternative assessment
  • methods.

This report also includes practical recommendations and useful facts and statistics.

About the Race at Work Charter

The Race At Work Charter builds on the work of work of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review, Race in the workplace. The review found that people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds were underemployed, underpromoted and under-represented at senior levels. That review concluded that ‘the time for talking is over. The time to act is now.’ BITC launched the Race at Work Charter to support businesses to take action.

The Race at Work Charter contains five calls to action*:

  1. Appoint an executive sponsor for race.
  2. Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress.
  3. Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying.
  4. Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers.
  5. Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression.
  6. Support inclusion allies in the workplace.
  7. Include Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse-led enterprise owners in supply chains.

* In October 2021 two additional commitments were added to the Race at Work Charter: Support race inclusion allies in the workplace and; Include Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse-led enterprise owners in supply chains. Find out more about the Race at Work Charter.

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