Too Many Companies Are Paying Lip Service To Diversity. We Need Real, Proactive Solutions For The BAME Community

I’m getting tired of studies exposing how bad the employment gap is for BAME people, while nothing is actually being done about it
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Diversity is officially a buzzword. Why do I say that? Well, It’s all too easy to find conferences, bold statements and glitzy events about the importance of diversity and the troubling lack of it. Yet, it’s still so difficult to find actual examples of growth and success.

This has been brought home to me even more after this year’s Black History Month and this summer’s anniversaries of the creation of the National Health Service and the docking of the Empire Windrush.

The NHS was built by post-war immigrants and simply would not exist without them. Yet, black doctors in the NHS are paid almost £10,000 a year less and black nurses £2,700 less than their white counterparts, has found.

Black female doctors earn £9,612 a year less and black male doctors £9,492 a year less than white doctors. Of course the revelations have prompted claims of racial discrimination. So, I ask you, what else is new?

It’s disappointing that the same diversity conversations are still ongoing mostly because they seem to be just that: conversations. BAME communities are finding industries notoriously tough to crack. They need so much more than motivational talks.

Almost half of London’s technology companies do not believe a diverse workforce improves company growth, according to reports. This attitude is reflected in the statistics on gender (of 40,000 firms based in London nearly 1,000 have an entirely male workforce) but racial diversity is even worse.

Ethnic minority graduates in Britain are much less likely to be employed than their white peers six months after graduation and many can expect to earn less for years afterwards. It’s a murky and multi-layered issue with companies often blaming the recruitment pipeline and claiming there aren’t enough people in the BAME community graduating with relevant degrees and applying for jobs. Yet the data shows that there are many more BAME students studying. So why isn’t this reflected in the workplace?

BAME graduates are up to 15% less likely to be employed than their white British peers six-months after graduation. Not to mention huge disparities in wages for ethnic minority women and black Caribbean males who find jobs after graduation and their white counterparts. We need real, pro-active solutions to create diverse industries.

That’s why the very first Baton Awards 2018, hosted by BAME female pioneers Charlene White and Gillian Joseph, celebrating BAME women of past, present and future, is so needed. In a time where the BAME community is being consistently overlooked, an awards ceremony that celebrates the achievements, challenges and accomplishments of BAME trailblazers is an opportunity for measurable change.

Migrant Caribbean women are the bedrock of the NHS, yet Black female nurses and midwives earn £2,700 a year less and black male nurses and midwives £1,872 a year less. As a modern BAME woman of Caribbean descent, this deeply concerns me.

I’ll be frank, I’m getting tired of studies exposing how bad the employment gap is for BAME people, while nothing is actually being done about it.

Last year, Theresa May challenged society to “explain or change” disparities in how people from different backgrounds are treated, following the publication of the Race Disparity Audit. Several months ago, she announced a new program to address ethnic disparities in youth unemployment after figures showed 16 to 24 year olds from BAME groups were twice as likely to be unemployed as their white peers.

Ninety million pounds, made up of money from dormant bank accounts, will go towards tackling inequalities in youth unemployment and helping disadvantaged young people get into work. It’s certainly a start. I can only hope that it marks the beginning of far more than just a talking shop. Our BAME female community deserve so much more.


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