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Retention of mid-level minority staff key, study shows
Research from UK-based diversity experts Rare shows that black minority ethnic employees at leading firms are no more likely to leave their jobs in the first five years than their white counterparts.
· Results follow APPG report into female minority figures on 7th December; the findings do not prove that workplace discrimination no longer exists.
· Figures taken from most engaged firms with respect to diversity show that top firms can crack race equality in regard to retention.
17th December 2012 – Research conducted by specialist diversity recruitment company, Rare, and sponsored by global bank, Barclays, has found that workplace race equality is possible at the UK’s leading firms.
Rare, which works with leading firms, including Barclays, Clifford Chance, Google, L’Oreal and the UK Civil Service, has found in ‘Five Years On’ that black minority ethnic (BME) employees from three client firms are no more likely to leave within the first five years of their careers than their white counterparts.
Whilst reports such as the recent All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Race and Community’s report into BME female unemployment  have suggested that discrimination – intentional or not – in the workplace still exists, the data used in ‘Five Years On’ was taken from firms at the leading edge of diversity and clearly shows that, at least with regard to retention, racial diversity is achievable.
‘Five Years On’ used a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, including one-on-one interviews and group discussions with senior BME employees and more junior BME employees. The BME employees were from top firms including law, accountancy and engineering firms, investment banks, public sector organisations, and advertising and communications agencies.
The data was analysed to produce recommendations to firms, HR departments and individuals on how they can reform behaviours and improve processes to ensure fairness and openness for all.
That said, many more firms declined to share their data on staff retention rates and it was found that not all firms analysed this data with respect to race. Part of the recommendations called for companies to collect this data so that they too can assess the extent of the problem at their organisation.
Commenting on the findings, co-author of ‘Five Years On’ and Founder and Managing Director of Rare, Raphael Mokades, said:
“This research shows what can be done to improve race equality with respect to retention at top organisations. The firms in the report’s case study should be congratulated for recognising the problem, collecting the relevant data so that they could analyse this issue, and assessing the effectiveness of the measures they have implemented to remedy it. Leveraging organisations’
Commenting on the recruitment and retention, Sir David Bell, Chairman of Rare, said:
“We all know that recruitment is not the only factor to consider in building a representative workforce. But firms who spend a lot of time and money on a diverse intake each year also know that this is unlikely to translate into a diverse workforce in the long term if retention rates of their ethnic minority employees are not as good as retention rates of white employees. When ethnic minority graduates leave firms in comparison to their white counterparts, and why, is of central importance in any analysis of diversity. And a key part of this is how these graduates see their chances of promotion and becoming part of senior management.”
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For more information, please contact:
André Flemmings, Communications Manager, Rare
+44 (0) 7939 822 638
Notes for Editors:
About ‘Five Years On’
‘Five Years On’ is the fifth piece of research to be produced by graduate diversity specialists, Rare.
The report, a continuation of Rare’s research in 2009, ‘High Achieving Black Students’, follows this cohort as they begin to enter the middle levels of their respective firms and organisations.
‘Five Years On’ provides an insight into how some of the most able BME graduates fare when trying to progress in their careers with top firms including law firms, investment banks, accountancy firms, public sector organisations, engineering firms, and advertising and communications agencies.
This study was carried out between May 2012 and September 2012 and uses both qualitative and quantitative data from some of the leading firms on diversity, their senior BME employees and more junior BME employees.
Recommendations for firms
1. Make sure your promotion process is fair by collecting data and checking the trends for ethnic minority employees when compared to white employees.
2. If your data analysis reveals that your process is fair, be sure to let everyone know this.
3. If your data analysis reveals that your process could be fairer, acknowledge this and do something to tackle the problem that is clear for all to see. If you set up a programme, involve managers to ensure the programme is properly supported.
4. Make your promotion process clear to all employees.
5. Set up a formal mentoring programme to help level the playing field.
6. Hold events and talks that address cultural and religious differences to ensure everyone within the firm learns, appreciates and understands the effects such differences can have as well as recognising the benefits of such diversity for the firm, both culturally and in terms of business.
7. Ensure there is an understanding amongst all employees that drinking alcohol should not be expected of anyone, nor should it be forced upon people.
8. Offer a range of social events that do not focus solely on alcohol
9. Ensure there is a zero tolerance policy towards sexism.
10. Offer flexible working options to all parents, men and women.
11. Create a clear set of expectations and give people the option to meet these expectations while working flexibly.
12. Provide mentoring and development programmes targeted at women who wish to advance within the firm.
 For more information, go to the Runnymede Trust website: www . runnymedetrust . org/projects-