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Hire women of colour, pay them well and promote them, UK businesses are told

A leading group pushing for gender diversity set British business a new goal yesterday - hire more women of colour, pay them properly and help them reach the top of the corporate ladder.

Global protests over race and the impact of the current coronavirus pandemic have brought “a time of change, a time of acceleration” to the 30% Club that was launched a decade ago, said Ann Cairns, the global chairwoman.

The club’s original mission was to see women represented on at least 30% of the corporate board seats in Britain. In line with growing calls for equality and diversity across all walks of life, Cairns explained she now seeks to see 175 women of colour with executive roles in Britain’s largest companies by 2023. A quite big goal to achieve, seeing the recent -if we can say so- missed opportunities Britain and the entire world let go away.

Image credit Human Resource

“The glass ceiling is still pervasive, and women of colour face some of the greatest hurdles of all,” she pointed out.

“We just haven’t seen Black people or people of colour finding it easy to climb the corporate ladder,” she added.

Currently, women hold 32% of board seats in the UK’s top 350 publicly traded companies, according to Hampton-Alexander Review, an independent, business-led initiative supported by the authorities.

The number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic UK board members was about 7%, and the number who were chairs, chief executives and finance directors was about 3%, according to a study released in late 2019 by recruitment consultancy Green Park.

The global protests over race and disproportionate death toll the COVID-19 has taken in the Black community show the wide-ranging impacts of inequality, and Black working women were doubly hit, she claimed.

Image credit LSE Business Review

“Quite honestly, the wage gap between a top-performing white man and a woman of colour is massive. You have double jeopardy going on, being both a woman and a woman of colour”.

In mid-June, London launched a commission into racial disparity, explaining it was weighing possible legal changes to require companies to report their payroll information based on ethnicity.

However, the move only came after a government (miserable) decision that large companies would no longer have to report gender-based pay gaps, due to the impact of COVID-19 on business.


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