Race to Equality Report Says Discrimination is Still Rife

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by KnowESG
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A study conducted by Reboot and Coleman Parkes discovered that 68% of those from ethnic minorities who work in the financial services industry face discrimination.

The 'Race to Equality in UK Financial Services' report, which assesses 800 financial services personnel with more than a decade of experience, will enter its second year in 2022.

82% of the people surveyed have received inappropriate comments about their background, and 25% said that racial jokes are tolerated in their workplaces.

The study says that businesses don't deal with discrimination well. Three quarters of the 47% of people who raised issues with HR felt that the problems were not effectively handled.

Furthermore, after reporting prejudice, 52% of those polled reported being treated differently by managers and colleagues (48%). To demonstrate the tangible impact of this, 49% of those who experienced prejudice had to take time off work, and 56% had to seek counselling.

40% of people polled said they planned to look for a new job in the next six to twelve months, and 10% said their current company's discriminatory culture was one reason.

A lack of ethnic minority representation in senior management is recognised by 46 per cent of financial service firms, and 69 per cent of survey participants recognised that there are efforts to be more diverse within the hiring process. However, this is not necessarily centred around ethnic diversity — 58 per cent believe that gender is prioritised over race.

Currently, 22% of white colleagues are 'uncomfortable' discussing race in the workplace, and just 60% of them wish to be advocates for their ethnic minority colleagues.

The report provides a three-point action plan for organisations: combat negative office cultures; leaders must take initiative and "champion the cause from the top"; and ethnicity data reporting must be more open, allowing the ethnic pay gap to be closed.

Richard Lacaille, global head of ESG at State Street, says:

“We need to look hard at this report and take the necessary steps to achieve this goal. This includes all of us not shying away from talking about race and leaders ensuring that inclusion, diversity and equality are not simply delegated to the HR department. Business leaders need to ensure that ethnic minority staff in their enterprises or departments are not facing the discrimination and other negative experiences identified in this year’s Race to Equality report.”

Oliver Bilal, head of EMEA distribution at Invesco, adds:

“An equal opportunity to progress is not only morally right, a cornerstone of good business practice and key to creating a dynamic, productive workplace. The problem will only be solved through action and accountability. In our view, equality of opportunity should be embedded in the institutional structure of an organisation.”

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Source: Asset Servicing Times

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