Racism is stopping Bame workers getting top jobs – and the government isn’t doing enough to help them

·13-min read
PRU/AFP via Getty Images
PRU/AFP via Getty Images

The results of the latest Colour of Power survey, conducted by Operation Black Vote and consultancy Green Park, have revealed that a mere 52 out of the 1,099 top roles in the country are filled by non-white individuals. This is an increase of just 15 people since the 2017 index.

Of most concern is the fact that of the 12 leaders of our political parties, none are from a Bame background. Of the 26 cabinet members, only four are Bame, and of the 94 government ministers, only six are, despite the fact that all these individuals represent our democracy and are at the heart of a nation that is striving for equality and diversity, and combatting racism.

In fact, across the 39 categories covered by the research, including central and local government, public bodies, the private sector, education, sport and charities, 15 of these sectors had no ethnic minority representation at all at their top levels.

This is shocking, considering that it is estimated that by 2061, the Bame population will be 42.1 per cent, according to a study conducted by the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Living and working in Tower Hamlets, one of the most diverse boroughs in the country, I frequently hear of the challenges that my constituents face in many aspects of their lives: education, employment, housing and healthcare. Sadly, discrimination and stereotyping are still rife and some of the stories that I hear are shocking. I recall how a young man had changed his name on his CV from Omaar to Owen following the Manchester terror attacks because he found it harder to move on to more senior positions as a result of stereotyping of Muslims

In fact, a BBC test found that a jobseeker with an English-sounding name was offered three times the number of interviews than an applicant with a Muslim name. Last year, ITV reported that more than a third of employees from an ethnic minority background in the Midlands had been told to change their name to something more English. 41 per cent changed their appearance, 25 per cent changed what they ate and 23 per cent adhered to other religious or cultural practices to fit in.

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak speaks to the media after he was found guilty in his corruption trial in Kuala Lumpur

AFP via Getty

2/50 27 July 2020

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses for a photograph after conferring commemorative pistols to leading commanding officers of the armed forces on the 67th anniversary of the "Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War". Which marks the signing of the Korean War armistice

KCNA via Reuters

3/50 26 July 2020

Federal officers launch tear gas at a group of demonstrators during a Black Lives Matter protest outside the Portland Courthouse


4/50 25 July 2020

Rescue forces in action after an ultralight aircraft crashed into a house in Wesel, Germany


5/50 24 July 2020

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (C) and invited guests attending Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque during the official opening ceremony of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Turkish Presidential Press Service/AFP/Getty

6/50 23 July 2020

Federal officers arrest a protester after she crossed a fence line set up around the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, Oregon. State and city elected officials have called for the federal officers to leave Portland as clashes between protesters and federal police continue to escalate


7/50 22 July 2020

Fire burns near the village of Galataki as authorities evacuate the place near Corinth, Greece. More than 250 firefighters, backed by water-dropping aircraft, were struggling Wednesday to contain a large wildfire fanned by strong winds that has forced the evacuation of five settlements in southern Greece


8/50 21 July 2020

A Black Lives Matter protester carries an American flag as teargas fills the air outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Oregon


9/50 20 July 2020

A trader decorates a camel with Henna at a cattle market set up for the upcoming Muslim festival Eid al-Adha also called "Festival of the Sacrifice", in Rawalpindi

AFP via Getty

10/50 19 July 2020

The Milky Way galaxy is seen in the sky above the International Car Forest of the Last Church in Goldfield, Nevada. The roadside attraction, created in 2002 by Mark Rippie, has over 36 automobiles including cars, trucks, vans and buses that have been balanced on their ends or stacked on top one of another

AFP via Getty

11/50 18 July 2020

Revellers take part in the annual Gay Pride parade, also called Christopher Street Day in Frankfurt


12/50 17 July 2020

Airplanes of the Scandinavian Airshow draw a heart in the sky, above the Turning Torso building in Malmo, Sweden

TT News Agency/Reuters

13/50 16 July 2020

Farmers protest outside the Indonesian Parliament against the cancellation of an 'omnibus bill' that aims to revise dozens of existing laws to ease the way for investment in Southeast Asia's largest economy in Jakarta


14/50 15 July 2020

Flooding in Sunamganj. Almost four million people have been hit by monsoon floods in South Asia, with a third of Bangladesh already underwater from some of the heaviest rains in a decade

AFP via Getty

15/50 14 July 2020

Second Republican infantry guard regiment take part in the annual Bastille Day military ceremony on the Place de la Concorde in Paris

AFP via Getty

16/50 13 July 2020

A man walks his dog through thick sea foam blowing ashore during a storm in Seapoint, Cape Town, South Africa


17/50 12 July 2020

Security forces on the outskirts of Amritsar take part in Van Mahotsav, an annual tree-planting festival in India

AFP via Getty

18/50 11 July 2020

People covered with coloured powder enjoy music during the Holi festival in Minsk, Belarus


19/50 10 July 2020

A demonstrator during clashes following the funeral of 29-year-old Palestinian Ibrahim Abou Yacoub, who was killed by Israeli forces, in the village of Kifl Hares, south of the West Bank city of Nablus

AFP via Getty

20/50 9 July 2020

The sun rises in Timmendorfer Strand, northern Germany


21/50 8 July 2020

Portraits of healthcare workers are pasted on the Opera Bastille, designed by Anne-Christine Poujoulat, to pay tribute to caregivers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Paris

Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty

22/50 7 July 2020

Tengger tribe people make their way to the summit of Mount Bromo volcano to make offerings in Probolinggo, as part of the Yadnya Kasada Festival. The Tenggerese climb the active volcano to seek the blessing from the main deity by presenting offerings of rice, fruit, livestock and other items

AFP via Getty

23/50 6 July 2020

A healthcare worker checks the temperature of residents during a check-up campaign in Mumbai, India


24/50 5 July 2020

People wearing protective face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus sit at a bus stop in the city of Zanjan, Iran


25/50 4 July 2020

Protesters blocking an exit to the precinct of the officers who arrested Elijah McClain, cover their ears anticipating the use of flash-bang grenades by police in Aurora, Colorado


26/50 3 July 2020

A member of the Israeli border police jumps during a Palestinian protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, in Kafr Qaddum near Nablus


27/50 2 July 2020

A surfer jumps clear of his board while enjoying winter waves at New Brighton Beach in Christchurch, New Zealand


28/50 1 July 2020

A man is detained by riot police during a demonstration in Hong Kong. China imposed a new national security law which has faced international condemnation


29/50 30 June 2020

A man smokes a pipe while wearing a face mask during a demonstration in Nantes, as part of a nationwide day of protests to demand better working conditions for health workers in France

AFP via Getty

30/50 29 June 2020

Lawmakers from Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party scuffle with people from the main opposition Kuomintang party, who have been occupying the Legislature Yuan, in Taipei


31/50 28 June 2020

Protester holds crosses during a demonstration in honour of the victims of coronavirus in front of Brazil's National Congress


32/50 27 June 2020

A demonstrator wearing a face mask holds a sign during a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the Victory column in Berlin


33/50 26 June 2020

Hygienists inside a decontamination area in a coronavirus treatment centre that cares for positive patients that show little or no symptoms in Dakar

AFP via Getty

34/50 25 June 2020

A seagull snatches a croissant from a buffet during a press conference at the headquarters of AP Moeller - Maersk in Copenhagen, Denmark

Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty

35/50 24 June 2020

A volunteer receives an injection from a medical worker during the country's first human clinical trial for a potential vaccine against coronavirus, at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa


36/50 23 June 2020

Swiss acrobat Ramon Kathriner performs during the "Glacier 3000" Air show, an event marking the reopening of the Alpine facilities above Les Diablerets

AFP via Getty

37/50 22 June 2020

A worker cleans volcanic ash off the stupas at the Borobudur temple in Indonesia, a day after Mount Merapi erupted in nearby Sleman, sending a plume of ash into the sky

AFP via Getty

38/50 21 June 2020

Aerial view of a burial at the Vila Formosa cemetery during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 21, 2020. - The novel coronavirus has killed at least 464,423 people worldwide since the outbreak began in China last December, being Brazil Latin America's worsthit country with 49,976 deaths from 1,067,579 cases.

AFP via Getty

39/50 20 June 2020

National Guards form a line in front of "Black Lives Matter" protestors in Tulsa, Oklahoma where Donald Trump was holding a campaign rally

AFP via Getty

40/50 19 June 2020

Nurses, doctors, midwives and health care workers attend the fourth Zumba dance session organised by the Nursing Council of Kenya at Kenyatta stadium where screening booths and an isolation field hospital have been installed. The dance sessions have been organised to re-energise and uplift health care providers sprits during this pandemic

AFP via Getty

41/50 18 June 2020

Alpha jets from the French Air Force Patrouille de France and the Royal Air Force Red Arrows perform a flypast over the statue of Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris to celebrate the 80th anniversary of wartime leader's appeal to the French people to resist the Nazi occupation, broadcast from London


42/50 17 June 2020

Activists from the Extinction Rebellion movement block a street outside the German Automobile industry association during a protest in Berlin

AFP via Getty

43/50 16 June 2020

Barbers wearing protective suits and face masks inside a salon in Dhaka, Bangladesh


44/50 15 June 2020

Siegfried White raises his hand as he protests outside a burned Wendy's restaurant on the third day following Rayshard Brooks death. The black man was shot by police in the car park in Atlanta. The mayor ordered immediate police reforms on Monday after the fatal shooting by a white officer

AFP via Getty

45/50 14 June 2020

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest march in central Tokyo

AFP via Getty

46/50 13 June 2020

Protesters raise their fists during a demonstration against police brutality and racism in Paris, France. The march was organised by supporters of Assa Traore, whose brother Adama died in police custody in 2016, in circumstances that remain unclear


47/50 12 June 2020

A pro-democracy supporter shouts at riot police during an anti-national security law rally in Mongkok district in Hong Kong, China. Protesters heeded online calls to gather as the city marks the one-year anniversary of the major clashes between police and pro-democracy demonstrators over the controversial extradition bill


48/50 11 June 2020

A section of the River Spree next to the Reichstag building coloured green by activists from "Extinction Rebellion" to protest the German government's coal policies in Berlin

AFP via Getty

49/50 10 June 2020

A woman poses in front of a decapitated statue of Christopher Columbus at Christopher Columbus Park in Boston Massachusetts. The statue's head, damaged overnight, was recovered by the Boston Police Department, as a movement to remove statues commemorating slavers and colonisers continues to sweep across the US

AFP via Getty

50/50 9 June 2020

Ivy McGregor, left, reads a resolution during the funeral for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston. George Floyd is being laid to rest in his hometown, the culmination of a long farewell to the 46-year-old African American whose death in custody ignited global protests against police brutality and racism

AFP via Getty

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Newby believes that: “Everyone in a position of power within every organisation needs to ensure that its working practices are inclusive in all areas, from the bottom to the top. The question is, how many race and ethnic disparity commissions is the government going to undertake and hide behind, claiming that they are going to address the problem? What we need to see is action behind the words.”

On the positive side, Sir John Parker conducted a formal government-backed review, which resulted in a package of measures, one of which stated that Britain’s largest companies have four years to appoint one board director from an ethnic minority background.

Matt Hancock said: “I’m particularly struck at the high proportion of people from minority ethnic backgrounds and people who have come to this country to work in the NHS who have died of coronavirus. I find it really upsetting actually and it is a testament to the fact that people who have come from all over the world have come and given their lives in service to the NHS and paid for that with their lives.”

Have these communities not shown their worth to the government in the contribution they make to Britain?

Read more

The Olympics didn’t inspire a nation to get fit. Nor will Boris

Talking about mental health helped me cope with lockdown anxiety

Surgeons are being judged by what they wear on holiday. That's sexism

Death to tourism? One summer without mass visitors might not be so bad

Equality and Human Rights Commission

CIPD 2017 report about addressing the barriers

50 show all

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting