Two in three or 66% of UK finance workers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have suffered discrimination in the workplace, according to a new report from reboot – Race to Equality – UK Financial Services.
Reboot, which is a network of senior professionals drawn from some of the City’s biggest firms, surveyed 800 employees from 440 companies with more than £1.4trn in annual revenue between them.
The study also found that over a quarter (28%) said discrimination was holding back their career, while nearly half (48%) felt their career progression was slower than for white colleagues.
These findings are despite the fact that many City firms are placing a high priority on diversity and inclusion. Seven in ten financial services organisations have policies on D&I yet only 41% thought their employers were failing to demonstrate a full commitment to creating an inclusive environment.
Respondents state that a lack of role models with similar identity and background is a barrier to progression, with a notably higher proportion of mixed or multiple ethnic group individuals (46%) identifying this as an issue.
In addition, only half said they felt their leadership teams truly believed diversity was critical to the future success of the business.
The study said “this suggest that while efforts have been made to address the issue by the boardroom, there needs to be a more open dialogue with ethnic minority employees in terms of what they want, as such, long-term positive results are yet to materialise across the sector.”
Jörg Ambrosius, the European chief executive of State Street, said, “There is more work for all of us, and the problems and challenges that remain will only be solved if we address them collectively. This must have everyone’s attention.”
Despite progress in recent years, few City firms track the ethnic diversity of their employees. However, a July report from the Financial Conduct Authority found that fewer than one in 10 management roles were held by black, Asian or other ethnic minority staff.
While gender pay gap reporting has been a legal requirement for UK businesses with more than 250 employees since 2017, only 13 of the 100 largest UK-listed employers currently report their ethnicity pay gaps.
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