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On 5 February 2016, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, made a speech in which he confirmed the establishment of a review to examine progression of black and ethnic minority (BME) people within the labour market. Baroness McGregor-Smith (Conservative) has been appointed to lead this review. Its remit includes:

  • Identifying the imperative for change.
  • Identifying obstacles to change.
  • Assessing the impacts of these obstacles.
  • Examining existing data.
  • Highlighting best practice in interventions.
  • Making recommendations.

The review aims to report by the end of 2016. This House of Lords Library briefing provides information on this “cross-Whitehall Ministerial taskforce” alongside other initiatives that the Government has supported to increase BME progression in the workplace.

This briefing sets out commentary from a selection of external bodies and the findings from a Government review into BME progression in the civil service. Finally, the briefing references various statistical sources of information on employment by BME status. Recently published statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions has shown that:

The employment rate gap (the difference in employment rates) between the overall population and ethnic minorities for 2015 is 11.1 percentage points. Overall, the employment rate gap has gradually been decreasing since this [data] series began in 1993. The 2015 employment rate gap of 11.1 percentage points represents a 0.5 percentage point decrease from 2014. Employment rates for ethnic minorities saw a greater increase (1.4 percentage points) than that of the overall population (0.9 percentage points).


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