· News

Employers that have unconscious bias training have higher ethnic minority recruitment rates, says BITC report

Over half of organisations with higher ethnic minority rates are tackling unconscious bias in their recruitment process, according a report published today by Business in the Community (BITC) in conjunction with quality campaigns, Opportunity Now and Race for Opportunity.

The report also found that employers with a policy for interview panels to have ethnic minority representation are proven to be more likely to attract and recruit ethnic minority candidates.

It claims employers that have a set of key performance indicators they use to check and demonstrate their success in attracting and recruiting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates are more likely to employ ethnic miniority workers.

The report found that organisations who had no significant difference between the rate of women and men being hired after shortlisting, were more likely to have implemented the following actions:


  • Set targets for the recruitment of women.
  • Recruitment partners were made aware of the organisation's policies and objectives on gender diversity.
  • Recruitment partners were tasked with providing shortlists containing women.
  • Implemented mandatory unconscious bias training for employees responsible for recruitment.


The report found a direct correlation between equal pay audits and a greater number of women in senior management positions, with an average representation of 25.6% when carrying out pay audits, compared to an average of 19.5% in organisations that don't conduct pay audits. It claims the value of tackling bias in recruitment is proven for both gender and race.

The report shows employers that monitor and track BAME candidates in recruitment and use this data to identify potential barriers are more likely to have diverse workforces.

Leadership accountability from the top is comprehensively regarded as critical to gender and race equality, with 84% of organisations ensuring that board members have personal accountability for the delivery of diversity objectives, while 79% and 72% of organisations ensure that heads of functions and other senior managers are personally accountable for delivery, respectively.

Helen Wells, director of Opportunity Now, said: "The report confirms that what we ask employers to do, works.

"First and foremost, it confirms that data is king as it enables employers to take effective action. It is gratifying that carrying out equal pay audits, flexible working and tackling unconscious bias has a clear impact on women's progression, particularly at senior management levels. I hope that this encourages all employers to recognise the value in mandating these."

Sandra Kerr, director of Race for Opportunity, said: "The survey findings reiterate just how straight-forward the high impact actions are for employers to implement, such as mandatory unconscious bias training, and the importance of leading on equality and inclusion from the top."