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Race for Opportunity the race campaign from Business in the Community.

Race for Opportunity (RFO) is committed to improving employment opportunities for ethnic minorities across the UK. It is the only race diversity campaign that has access to and influence over the leaders of the UK’s best known organisations.

The 3 pillars of campaign focus for 2011 -2012 are:

  • Diverse leadership on boards
  • Diverse representation in the workplace
  • Diversity in the supplier chain

Race for Opportunity is a business network of employers from the public and private sector who believe that equality is good for business in the UK. As the Campaign Director for Race for Opportunity, Business in the Community I would not recommend any part of the equality legislation is reformed unless it will deliver better outcomes than those that currently exist for British people from an ethnic minority background in the UK.

Race for Opportunity has published recent research in 2009, 2010 and 2011 that demonstrates that inequality still exists in education, access to employment, access to the professions and once in work access to management and leadership positions. Studies by Cranfield University also highlight that there are still under 4% ethnic minority leaders on FTSE boards in the UK where more than 10% of the population is from an ethnic minority background. These are very complex issues with a strong aspect of social mobility and social capital and networks and the affect this has on young people’s educational opportunities and outcomes that has not yet been addressed in the UK. We cannot afford to take our foot off the accelerator on this and reduce or water down the act in anyway until the obvious unequal and unfair gaps in the outcomes for people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK no longer exist. I am speaking to the ethnicity and social mobility aspect of equality and diversity but these principles will read across the other protected categories of the equality act. I submit two links for reference to reports that I believe are worthy of your review Race into Higher Education 2010 and Race into Work June 2011 Race into Higher Educationand Race to Progress: Breaking Down Barriers .

The recruitment industry has been de-regulated and early findings in our research is that people from ethnic minority backgrounds rely on these agencies more than the wider population but do not believe they are treated fairly when being put forward for roles. This practice is contributing to the persistent unemployment gaps and economic activity within certain ethnic minority groups and I believe that watering down the equality legislation will make what is already troubling negative outcomes even worse.

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