Racism fears keep blacks from careers

RACISM FEARS are causing many black people to rule out careers in certain professions, a survey in the United Kingdom has shown.

The survey from the organisation Race For Opportunity revealed that, despite having higher aspirations and a stronger work ethic than white people, ethnic minorities are not looking for employment in many jobs because of perceptions of racism.

A total of 1,469 people were interviewed for the survey, 13 per cent of whom were of African and Caribbean backgrounds.

Every profession was seen as having some form of racism, but some participants singled out professions such as the police, legal industries, the armed forces and media.

“Close to half of all respondents, including white Britons, perceive the police to be a racist profession, rising to 72 per cent for black Caribbeans. Similarly, over a fifth of black Caribbeans consider the media and legal industries to be either subtly or overtly racist.

“More than a quarter cited politics as another problem area, rising to 30 per cent when white respondents were excluded and 39 per cent for the black Caribbean group,” the study said.

Half of ethnic minority people surveyed said they were not interested in joining the armed forces and more than a third (38 per cent) ruled out the police. Nearly half (44 per cent) ruled out politics as a career.

Change needed

Race For Opportunity, which is dedicated to improving employment opportunities for ethnic minorities, warned in a statement that “without a change in how the professions are viewed, the next generation of bankers, medics, lawyers , teachers and journalists will not be drawn from the rich pool of ethnic minority talent that exists in the UK”.

According to Sandra Kerr, national director of Race For Opportunity: “A large part of the problem is that race is not as high on the diversity agenda for government and many businesses as gender is, which is why the conclusion of the report urges government to put race firmly on their diversity agenda.”

Jeremy Crook, director of the Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), added: “Many large organisations have been developed over many … decades and they … have a particular culture. Some of those cultures, policies and programmes are very outdated and do not necessarily benefit people from different ethnicities and cultures.”

Crook and Kerr said organisations must make positive changes to attract ethnic minorities.

“At the very least you want an employer to accept that there may be a problem with recruiting people fairly, and if they want to have an inclusive workforce they need to question how they’re recruiting, who they’re recruiting and if it’s actually fair,” Crook said.

Kerr added: “To tackle race inequality, the scale of the problem must be acknowledged and properly monitored at government level.

“Government must commit to promoting workforces that are completely diverse, not just a UK plc that has a fair representation of women.”

She said: “Employers across all industries need to look at why they currently risk putting off potential BAME (black Asian and minority ethnic) candidates from seeking a career with them.”

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