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BT tops UK list of race-friendly employers

BT is the most race-friendly organisation in the UK, according to Race for Opportunity.

The telecommunications organisation was found to be the most race-diverse employer, followed by publishing firm Pearson.

In the public sector, where employers have a legal duty to act on race diversity, The Ministry of Defence came top of Race for Opportunity's list, followed by the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Home Office, West Midlands Police and The British Army.

The study of race diversity trends across a total of 1.5 million employees shows organisations are making ‘significant' progress with engaging current and potential ethnic minority staff and 90% are monitoring the ethnicity of their workforce and communicating race policies to recruitment agencies and suppliers.

But at the high end of the scale only 4.3% of board-level employees are from an ethnic minority compared with 8.5% of the total workforce.

Sandra Kerr, national campaign director for Race for Opportunity, said: "In tough times it is easy for organisations to neglect diversity, particularly when it concerns race which is often seen as less of a priority than gender and sexuality. It is a huge credit that so many organisations have chosen to take part in this research.
"But, even among this elite group of employers, ethnic minorities remain worryingly far behind. Without very targeted action to speed up the progression of ethnic minorities in employment - programmes designed to get ethnic minorities into senior positions for example - the inequality that exists within organisations will persist. If initiatives such as BT's encouraging of its suppliers to sign up to minimum standards on race diversity, were to become common practice, I am confident the UK could make real progress on tackling the gross under-representation of ethnic minorities."