I was at a lecture organised by the Runnymede Society on Tuesday last week. The lecture entitled Revisiting the future of multi-ethnic Britain was delivered by Lord Parekh. The main thrust of the lecture was to look the effects of integration of British society, with a particular focus on Black and Ethnic communities (otherwise called BME’s).
See link attached: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/publications/29/32.html
Now whilst Lord Parekh painted a somewhat positive picture of socio-cultural integration and respect for individual cultures, which from a personal perspective is something that Britain should be very proud of, the question that did not appear to be asked or indeed answered, is how the details of the report actually feeds through into the workplace? My view is that the workplace is the baseline denominator where as a society we can practically combat all forms of negative social cohesion that allow for adverse impact on different groups of people in Britain.
Look at the following statistics for example: Only 10% of Directors of UK FTSE 100 companies firms are women. BME representation at Director level in UK’s FTSE 100 companies is currently approx 0.4%. Indeed, research suggests that it will take 60 years to have the same amount of female Directors as men in FTSE 100 companies. This is despite the introduction of Equality Legislation over the last 40 years. Indeed, Lord Parekh was at pains to give an answer to a question posed around diversity levels in the House of Lords, where he sits.
I must point out at this juncture however that the thinking is not to suggest that equal representation is what the diversity agenda is all about, rather it is about creating fair, inclusive and transparent processes that naturally facilitate diversity. Targets aren’t the answer! However the core point to make is that all research, such as the Parekh report should be looking at practical solutions linked to the workplace where structural inequalities in society can be best combated. I am not sure I got that!…