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Ethnic diversity of top UK jobs ‘fails to improve’ over past three years

Ethnic diversity in Britain’s leadership has failed to improve over the past three years, new research has revealed.

According to consultancy firm Green Park’s The Colour of Power 2020 report, just 52 out of 1099 of the most powerful jobs in the country are held by ethnic minority individuals.

It said that despite public commitments from government, public bodies and businesses to increase diversity at leadership levels, progress has stalled over the last three years.

The report also revealed that the 2020 figures represent a gain of only 1.2% or 15 additional ethnic minority held roles since the Colour of Power 2017 index.

The research covers the top roles across 39 categories including central and local government, public bodies, the private sector, education, sport and charities.

Some 15 of these categories had no ethnic minority representation at all at their top levels in 2020; five categories have seen a decrease in BAME individuals over the past three years and more than half the categories (21) have seen no change.

As organisations across Britain and the world declare their commitment to improving equality and diversity, in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement, the research reveals that Black individuals are particularly under-represented with just 17 of the 1099 roles held by Black men and women – amounting to 1.5% compared to the national population figure of 3.6%.

Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park said: “If ever there was a need for open and carefully curated conversations about the UK’s relationship with race and power, the time is now. Our report graphically illustrates the lack of ethnic minority representation in the upper echelons of the UK’s most powerful institutions which directly or indirectly impact the everyday lives of our multi-cultural population.”

“The Colour of Power 2020 demonstrates not only the disparity of power in the UK’s highest echelons, but also the total failure to address it despite three years of government-backed targets and ample institutional rhetoric about commitments to diversity and inclusion.”

He added: “Those in entrenched positions of power clearly need access to new perspectives. We need to let go of the myth of an achieved meritocracy and reform our working practices so that they are inclusive from start to finish.

“And we need to remember that inviting people into decision-making processes is an antidote to a lack of will to change but does not in itself provide the additional skills needed to address groupthink – which will be vital to helping the economy recover and thrive post Covid-19.”

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