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Black History Month

We’re always proud of celebrations of rights and representation. That’s why we’re proud to support and advocate for the ideas behind Black History Month, this year and always.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of black history, held in both the USA and Great Britain. It’s commemorated in a variety of different ways - all of which focus on the contributions Africa and African peoples make to British culture and all its successes. That could be anything from events to films to marches.

Black History Month in the UK

There’s a difference between when the month is celebrated on either side of the Atlantic. The American celebration is held in February and the British equivalent in October. That’s because one was chosen to match the birthday of American President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The British dates, meanwhile, were chosen to match the London Jubilee for the first year it was celebrated.

The UK first celebrated the month in 1987 and its scope and priorities have grown in the last 30 years to become a wide-ranging, sometimes controversial, event. We believe it’s an important opportunity to raise the issues and achievements of black communities. We’re proud to support that work.

The UK’s Black History Month drive has a slightly different focus from those held in the USA. Celebrations and discussions are supposed to:

  • Share knowledge and understanding of black history, culture and heritage
  • Share information on the positive contributions to society made by people from black communities
  • And build the confidence of BAME communities, finding their place and voice in British society.

We’re using the opportunity of Black History Month to highlight the ethnicity pay gap in our workplaces. Persons of colour are making a huge contribution to our business growth in the UK - we must recognise and support that contribution. After all, we already know that diverse teams are more successful and productive. And so do the employers we work with. Browse our list of diversity-focused employers here.

We’re raising this as an issue because a pay audit of organizations in the Greater London authority group alone found ethnic workers had a salary of 37% less than white colleagues. If that was played out across all industries then families could be losing out on billions and billions of pounds.

We’re behind the call from campaigners behind the #ethnicitypaygap call for mandatory reporting on salaries for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues. This would reveal not only the obvious lack of non-white executives at the top of companies, but a pool of talented BAME people being undermined by employers. That’s due to failures in recruitment, but also in barriers to promotion.  We believe there is more for employers to do.

Gender pay gap reporting

We already know that research suggests people with African and Asian surnames, but equivalent qualifications, have to send in twice as many CVs just to get an interview. This is a worrying statistic and underlines the need for commitment to clear and open recruitment. Browse our list of responsible employers here. In fact, research suggests the UK economy could benefit by £24 billion per year if BME staff progressed in work at the same rate as their white counterparts. 

Low pay needs to be tackled to improve opportunities for all. Research developed by experts at the University of Essex found that British ethnic minority graduates were up to 15% less likely to be employed six months after graduating. Further, many earned less years afterwards. This is because of ingrained bias, conscious or unconscious, that throws up barriers to useful employment. We’re working hard to overcome that. Learn more about our inclusive employment opportunities here.

How to tackle the ethnicity pay gap

We understand that, although supportive employment helps, the bottom line is that recording and reporting the figures on ethnic minority and gender pay gaps are only the first steps. Instead we need to work towards systemic change, and transparency in business, that allow us to all work better.  Currently, just three per cent of UK employers measure their ethnicity or disability pay gaps, according to research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. We can do more. Search our database for available vacancies with inclusive employers here

We believe that employers can do more. We believe that we can all do more. We choose to find new ways to help jobseekers get the jobs, and conditions, they need and want. We tell stories of success and achievement in all of our communities. We currently have hundreds of vacancies available with responsible employers that think like us. Search the database here.

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