The conference considered the next steps for government, employers and other stakeholders in improving opportunity and equality at work for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME).
It followed the launch by government, in collaboration with Business in the Community, of the Race at Work Charter with delegates discussing the way forward for the Charter, assessing its scope and whether it is sufficiently robust, how take-up can continue to be increased, the practical steps that employers need to take meet the Charter’s principles, and where support for businesses might be needed from government and its partners. Delegates also discussed a further survey announced by Business in the Communities to evaluate progress against the Charter, being published on the one year anniversary of the Charter.
The conference provided an opportunity to examine the Government’s consultation on ethnicity pay reporting, with Government currently considering its response. Delegates discussed the viability for organisation-wide granulated data capture, and the case for mandatory action planning.
In the context of a recent study highlighting the large number of job applications BAME candidates have to make before they receive invitations to interview and calls for employers to be more creative with recruitment practices to improve diversity, delegates discussed the practical steps that can be taken by employers including the introduction of blind CVs, unconscious bias training and reviewing interview practices.
The conference also provided an opportunity to consider the role and impact of the newly formed Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and how it partners with the Cabinet Offices Race Disparity Unit.
Those attending also considered progression for BAME employees, with Business in the Community finding that BAME employees continue to have concerns surrounding progression, in their scorecard report marking one year on from the McGregor-Smith Review. The seminar also included discussion of Operation Black Votes recently released report into the representation of local authorities.
Attendees looked at the impact of actions such as providing unconscious bias training, the setting of clear targets for managers, the introduction of role models, mentoring and reverse mentoring, and the steps that can be taken to maximise their use and effectiveness.
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