Ambitious ethnic minority workers have greater career ambition than their white colleagues and enjoy their job more, landmark research has claimed.
The study, the largest survey into the issue, also found some BME employees are more keen to take part in fast-track programmes.
However, the research revealed that 30 per cent of Britons have witnessed or suffered racial harassment in the workplace in the past year, and just 55 per cent of ethnic minority workers felt valued compared to 71 per cent of their white colleagues.
The report by charity Business in the Community urged the government to investigate the promotion of BME staff at senior management levels and draw up a fresh policy on race. Its recommendations have also been backed by leading businessmen.
Raj Dhonota, an angel investor and former contestant on BBC show The Apprentice, told Eastern Eye: “Without any doubt, BME people have and do contribute an enormous amount to the British economy.
“Given that, it’s extremely sad we are still finding it’s not an equal playing field for all and they still suffer disadvantages in the workplace because of their ethnicity.
“I hope the government truly acknowledge the role BME employees play in the UK, and at the very least, adopt all of the recommendations by Business in the Community.
“But it’s only a small step forward, and much more needs to be done by the government.”
The Race at Work survey, which quizzed over 24,000 people in total, also found 63 per cent of Asians said they wanted to progress, compared to some 61 per cent of mixed race workers and 41 per cent of white employees.
Seventeen per cent of Indian-origin employees said they were unhappy with their career development. The figure was 16 per cent among Pakistanis, 34 per cent for Bangladeshi-origin and 21 per cent for white workers.
Thirty-one per cent of Indian origin professionals felt that their managers treated all colleagues equally compared to 39 per cent among whites, 26 per cent of Pakistanis and 31 per cent of Bangladeshis.
Tony Chanmugam, group, finance director at BT, said it was important work forces reflect society.
He explained: “There is still a lot of work to do to show that ethnic minorities’ experiences of work are equal to their peers. This survey can now help close the gap if action is taken and support is available.”
Sandra Kerr OBE, race equality director at Business in the Community, urged the government to take action. She said: “It is clear that ethnic minorities’ experiences of work are still not equal to their white peers.
“Despite having greater enjoyment and ambition for work, the experience of the workplace processes and cultures for BAME employees is certainly not ideal.
“The scale of this challenge is immense and needs immediate action.”
Last month, a group of public and private sector firms agreed to introduce recruitment for graduates and apprenticeships where the candidate’s name was kept hidden to tackle bias.
It came after former business secretary Vince Cable and Labour MP Chuka Umunna demanded the government force companies to include a breakdown of ethnic minority employees on their boards.
Umunna slammed the “appalling” lack of ethnic diversity in boardrooms, saying the number had gone into reverse in 2015.