HSBC, Tesco and the Bank of England have teamed up to back new plans for promoting diversity across British business.
A group of organisations, which also includes Berwin Leighton Paisner, Baker McKenzie and Lloyds Banking Group, will join forces at the Investing in Ethnicity and Race Conference to develop a strategy for improving career progression opportunities for people of Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds.
The new plans come after a government-backed report by former Mitie chief exec Ruby McGregor-Smith revealed that a more diverse workforce could boost the UK economy by £24bn.
HSBC UK boss Ian Stuart said the bank is ready to take action on "the race and ethnicity agenda". "I believe that having a diverse and inclusive culture is key to our business success," he continued.
While we have a lot more to do, we are making progress and have a strong plan to continue the shift from talk to action.
Rob Elsey, the Bank of England's chief information officer, said: "The Bank values the different perspectives, ideas and open debate that having a diverse workforce brings. Focusing on the BAME agenda as part of our wider inclusion strategy gives us the opportunity to ensure we are representative across all levels of the Bank with a good pipeline of talent for the future."
And Tesco Bank boss Benny Higgins added: "At Tesco, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive business, where we reflect the communities we serve and where everybody is treated as they like to be treated.
"We recognise the true benefit a diverse colleague base brings to our business, supporting us in creating innovate products for our customers and in our ability to overcome challenges."
The founder of the Investing in Ethnicity & Race initiative, Sarah Garrett, highlighted that diversity is "often a rarity at the top table", pointing out that almost six out of 10 FTSE 100 boards have no minority presence at all.
Meanwhile, BAME graduates are less likely to become employed than their white counterparts and 60 per cent of black employees feel their career development has failed to meet their expectations.
"The Investing in Ethnicity & Race initiative applauds Tesco, HSBC and the Bank of England for taking substantive steps towards ensuring the make-up of our society is reflected at all levels in their companies," said Garrett.
"The McGregor-Smith Report showed that poor equality of opportunity has cost the economy dear, and businesses now need to act. We’re pushing for the more than 50 companies attending the conference to take those actions back to the workplace."