7 of 10 minority leaders faced discrimination in careers

Research out on July 12 in London, England,on the views of ethnic minority senior executives and board leaders on workplace barriers reveals bias is part of the cultural norm.

The survey from Harvey Nash’s Engage network, representing leaders from all ethnic backgrounds, shows seven out of ten (71%) experienced ethnic discrimination in their career that has meant they have had to work even harder to reach board level or the most senior positions.

The findings highlight an unfair playing field tipped in favour of white men. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of ethnic minority leaders believe that the unconscious bias of CEOs and boards – which are 74% male and 95% white in the FTSE 100 – is hindering ethnic minorities from progressing to board level.

It also highlights the existence of an ‘old boys’ network. Sixty-two per cent of respondents believe that ethnic minorities are not in the circles or on the radars of leadership teams and executive search firms, meaning they are unlikely to be considered for board positions and businesses are missing out on a huge talent pool.

These figures emerge following a recent Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Inquiry that found just 13% of FTSE 100 companies provided training on equality law and avoiding unconscious bias to those on the board involved in appointments and almost a third (32%) of businesses continue to rely on personal networks to identify candidates.

In light of the recent EU Referendum result, the research presents a worrying backdrop as nationality and ethnic background have drawn the media’s attention. Improving diversity requires commitment from the very top of an organisation, however the research points to lack of action from the CEO and board, with over half (52%) of respondents believing that CEOs and leadership teams do not see the business benefits of diversity to the bottom line despite numerous academic and other studies such as McKinsey’s Diversity Matters.

Ddownload the infographic report, ‘The Ethnicity Gap: Understanding Barriers to the Boardroom for Ethnic Minorities’ here: http://www.harveynash.com/engage/news-and-events/The%20Ethnicity%20Gap%20infographic%20report%20Jul%2016.pdf – PRNewswire

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