68% of ethnic minorities in UK finance sector face bias: Report

The financial services sector brought in 173.6 billion pounds to the UK economy in 2021, which equates to 8.3 per cent of the country's total economic output.

London: Seven in 10, or 68 per cent of ethnic minority employees including Indians, experienced discrimination in the UK’s financial services industry, which contributes enormously to the country’s GDP, a new report has found.

The financial services sector brought in 173.6 billion pounds to the UK economy in 2021, which equates to 8.3 per cent of the country’s total economic output.

A shocking 82 per cent faced unwelcome comments or conduct at their organisation based on their background in the last 12 months, according to the 2022 Race to Equality in UK Financial Services’ report by Reboot and Coleman Parkes.

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Around 47 per cent of ethnic minority respondents raised issues with their HR on racism and discrimination, and three-quarters felt the HR was not very effective at dealing with their issues.

Some 52 per cent employees who reported discrimination felt they came under greater scrutiny by managers and 48 per cent reported being treated differently by colleagues for speaking up.

While 49 per cent of the ‘discriminated’ respondents said they had to take time off work, 56 per cent said they had to seek counselling to help recover from negativity at their workplaces.

Around 22 per cent of white peers felt ‘uncomfortable’ talking about race in the workplace and 60 per cent stated that they want to be advocates for their ethnic minority colleagues.

“Given my professional background, there is a call to action for all HR professionals to come together, educate themselves and create safe channels for staff to approach them, and for matters to be taken seriously when raised,” said Dimple Mistry, co-lead of the Race & Ethnicity at Diversity Project.

The survey examined responses of 800 online interviews with mid-to-senior level ethnic minority (600) and white (200) employees across financial services.

Providing a three-point plan to organisations in support of ethnic minority employees, the report said that negative office cultures must be challenged; leaders must take charge and “champion the cause from the top”.

It suggested that ethnicity data reporting should be more transparent, allowing for the ethnicity pay gap to be closed.

The report comes in the backdrop of the recently-released 2021 census in which Indians became the largest non-white ethnic group in the UK with the number of Persons of Indian Origin rising to 3.1 per cent of the total population from 2.5 per cent (14.12 lakh) recorded in the 2011 census.

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