Nearly a third of black employees feel discrimination has hindered their career progression

Rebecca Smith
Workers in a call centre office environment
BAME employees were more likely to feel hindered by discrimination at work (Source: Getty)

Just under a third of black employees say that discrimination has affected their career progression, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The CIPD said 29 per cent of black employees felt discrimination had played a part in a lack of career progress to date, compared to 11 per cent of white employees.

When assessing what would help pave the way to improved career progression, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) respondents were more likely than white British employees to say that seeing other people like them that had progressed within the organisation would help.

Read more: How to tackle discriminatory culture in the workplace

They also flagged greater diversity among those at senior levels in their organisation would help, while a quarter whose organisations do not provide mentoring, said they thought it would be useful in helping them achieve their potential at work.

The CIPD carried out a survey of 1,290 UK employees, with 700 from a BAME background.

Around a third of the BAME and white British respondents who said their career progression so far had not met their expectations, also flagged that they had experienced poor line management at crucial points in their career.

Just over half of the employees surveyed felt able to talk to their manager about their career goals, while two-fifths said they felt their manager understands their career aspirations.

Dr Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said: "Organisations need to understand where the barriers to progression for different groups lie, and use this information to level the playing field and enable talented people to reach their potential at work.

"They mustn’t forget though that different minority ethnic groups are facing different obstacles and that many of us have multiple and overlapping social identities, so it’s important not to assume that one solution will remove progression barriers for all."

She added:

Inclusion, fairness and transparency need to be at the heart of workplace cultures, and HR has a key role to play in helping organisations to understand this, driving change through the unique insight it has about the workforce, its makeup, and by questioning existing workplace structures and culture.

The CIPD says organisations should collect workforce data to identify the structural and cultural barriers that are maintaining workplace inequalities, and "encourage employee voice", through employee resource groups that work with the organisation.

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