Minorities
POWER: (left to right) Sajid Javid; Priti Patel

TOO FEW ASIANS AND BLACKS IN POWERFUL POSTS, SAYS REPORT

Simon Woolley

PATHWAYS to high powered jobs in Britain for the black and minor­ity ethnic communities (BME) are almost nonexistent in 2017, new research has found.

Gathering data from 37 private, public and democratic institutions, political campaigning organisation, Operation Black Vote (OBV), in col­laboration with The Guardian and Green Park recruitment, found that only 3.4 per cent of the 1,049 top posts were held by BAME individu­als in their Colour of Power report.

When ministerial posts, elected mayors and council leaders are re­moved, BME individuals account for two per cent of senior roles.

Secretaries of state Sajid Javid and Priti Patel are among Asian politicians in the report, while Dia­geo CEO Ivan Menezes and Reckitt Benckiser’s Rakesh Kapoor are among heads of FTSE 100 compa­nies who are from a BAME back­ground in the survey.

Farah Storr, the editor of Cos­moplitan magazine, and Harpal Kumar of Cancer Research UK are also included in the list.

No one from a BAME back­ground is a supreme court judge, a chief constable, a head of an intel­ligence agency or a member of the defence council for armed forces, the survey found.

Simon Woolley, director of OBV, said: “Britain cannot compete to its optimum, while people of colour and women are inadvertently locked out, which becomes in­creasingly important in our post- Brexit world.”

Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park, said: “For many, the absence of diversity in business leadership is a clear signal that institutions and wealth creators don’t under­stand the need to modernise cor­porate stewardship.”

He added that such “stark dis­parities” were responsible for a lack of public trust in leaders in politics and business, and urged a change in order for Britain to remain relevant.

“Globally, there are increasing external pressures to act more boldly to achieve integrated, credi­ble diversity and the UK needs to follow suit if it is to remain com­petitive in an international econo­my,” Tulsiani added.

Women of BAME backgrounds are even less likely to be represent­ed in top level positions, with seven in total, amounting to one per cent of the overall figure.

Woolley echoed Tulsiani’s views, saying greater diversity was needed to effectively serve a “growing mul­tifaceted, multicultural society”.

OBV, a non-partisan group that works to further racial justice and equality in Britain, said the bleak statistics could give rise to new op­portunities for future generations to flourish in their chosen fields.

Its chair, Rita Patel, said: “Imag­ine how many more of our children and young adults truly believing they can excel in whatever field they seek to choose.

“We not only turbocharge British creativity and dynamism, we also create a society that is more com­fortable with itself, precisely be­cause we diminish alienation, and the ‘them and us’ blame game’”.

Of the sectors in the report, the most diverse was politics, with four leaders of London boroughs, one metropolitan leader, two mayors, three UK ministers, one Scottish and one Welsh minister coming from BAME backgrounds.