Press release

Business Secretary steps up fight to end discrimination

A review into increasing progression in the labour market by people from minority backgrounds has been announced by the government.

In a speech at an UpRising event the Business Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed he has asked Baroness McGregor-Smith to lead a review looking at the issues faced by businesses in developing black and minority ethnic (BME) talent from when they start work through to executive level.

The review will also consider the obstacles faced and the impacts these have on the individuals and the businesses themselves. It will also look at the evidence base and consider those interventions that have worked well and what more can be done.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

I am committed to ending discrimination at work and extending opportunity to everyone regardless of their race, colour or religion. We have record employment, strong growth and rising wages but there is more to do to ensure everyone has the same chance to progress at work.

This isn’t just the ‘right’ thing to do – harnessing the potential from the widest pool of talent you can makes absolute business sense for employers right across the UK.

Baroness McGregor-Smith’s review will complement Sir John Parker’s review into diversity on boards. She said:

I am delighted to be leading this review. It has never been more important to fully capitalise on the skills and talents of every individual in the workplace, regardless of their background.

We need to remove the barriers that for so long have restricted BME talent from reaching the most senior levels in business. These actions will deliver long-term economic benefits for the UK.

The review is part of the government’s ambitious BME 2020 plan and is aimed at improving labour market outcomes for those from BME backgrounds.

Ministers from across government have been charged with:

  • increasing the proportion of apprenticeships taken up by young people from BME backgrounds by 20%
  • increasing the number of BME students going to university by 20%
  • ensuring that 20,000 start-up loans are awarded to BME applicants by 2020
  • increasing BME employment by 20% by 2020
  • increasing the diversity of the armed forces
  • increasing the diversity of police recruitment