Barriers to Development

‘Race at Work Charter’ declared by Prime Minister Theresa May and signed by prominent employers in hopes to improving representation of ethnic minorities in the workplace.


In late 2018, it was declared by Theresa May PM, that her government would be joining forces with key employers in the UK market, to engage and tackle the prominent issue of underrepresentation and inequalities of ethnic minorities in the workplace. Following on from 2017, where the Government’ ‘Race Disparity Audit’ (the first of its kind) published findings investigated the treatment of a variety of ethnic backgrounds and how they were received in society and negotiated their ways through life.
Theresa May, Prime Minister said:

“Every employee deserves the opportunity to progress and fulfil their potential in their chosen field, regardless of which background they are from, but too often ethnic minority employees feel they’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression. That’s why I’m delighted to launch the Race at Work Charter, which gives businesses a clear set of actions to work towards in helping to create greater opportunities for ethnic minority employees at work.

One year on from publishing the Race Disparity Audit, the government is delivering on its promise to explain or change ethnic disparities in all areas of society, taking action to support young people into work with funding of £90 million from dormant bank accounts, and acting on the recommendations of the Lammy review including by increasing diversity within prison officer recruitment.

Our focus is now on making sure the UK’s organisations, boardrooms and senior management teams are truly reflective of the workplaces they manage, and the measures we are taking today will help employers identify the actions needed to create a fairer and more diverse workforce.”

In conjunction with the efforts of the ‘Business in the Community’ (BITC), the government and its new Charter will be setting employers the task of taking on board a series of core-values. The aims of this scheme being that vulnerable ethnic groups have fairer access to key appointments in their chosen field of employment; meaning more people can realize their potential.
To head up the efforts of this new Charter, the government have appointed renowned figurehead Karen Blackett OBE, WPP UK Country Manager, and Chairwoman of MediaCom UK & Ireland. The scheme has already had several prominent industry leading bodies sign-up, including; Saatchi & Saatchi, The Royal Bank of Scotland, WPP, Civil Service, Norton Rose Fulbright, NHS England, KPMG, and Standard Life Aberdeen, to lead the way in their endeavors to influence other businesses across the UK. Additionally FTSE 100, Lloyds Banking Group have also pledged join the efforts of the ‘Race at Work Charter’.

Additionally keep your eyes peeled for the simultaneously initiated investigation into pay disparity revealed in the findings of the ‘Race Disparity Audit’. In which the government have directly engaged with employers across the UK over the results of the Audit. The directive that the government proposes is the mandatory revealing of ethnicity based pay data. The Ethnicity pay reporting consultation is set to end on the 11th January 2019.


Finally, public services across the UK have been engaged to ensure representation of ethnic minorities in their respective industries. Sectors including Schools, Police, and the NHS are being challenged to ensure that proportional representation of ethnic minorities are being aimed for in the populations they operate in. This comprises tenders from School Leaders to challenge inequalities in their personnel.

Karen Blackett OBE, WPP UK Country Manager and Chairwoman of MediaCom UK & Ireland states:

“Embracing diversity and inclusion is not a choice, it’s a business necessity. Clients choose WPP precisely because of the capability and creativity of our people; it’s why we’re focused on attracting, developing and promoting the best talent from across a range of backgrounds. Creativity powers business growth and this only happens by having diversity of talent in the room and reflecting society in the content we create.

As the Government’s Race at Work Champion, I’m committed to helping businesses address inequality at all levels by taking practical steps such as introducing apprenticeships, offering mentorships and capturing ethnicity data to create a more inclusive and representative workforce.”

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