72% of Black Caribbeans consider police racist profession: Report
2nd July 2010: Ethnic minorities in the UK consider professions including banking, politics, law and journalism, as closed off to them, a new report has revealed.
“Aspiration and Frustration” by Race for Opportunity, investigates how different ethnic groups view their prospects of employment and promotion.
The report reveals that racism is still prevalent in the workplace: more than a fifth said they had been offended by a racial remark in their place of work. Chinese were the most egregious victims with 35% citing an example, followed by a quarter of Pakistanis.
The report also shows that despite ethnic minorities having a strong work ethic and high career aspirations, many rule out careers in the professions because of perceptions of racism.
According to the study, no profession was seen as devoid of racism. Close to half of all respondents, including white Britons, perceive the police to be a racist profession, rising to 72% 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% when white respondents were excluded and 39% for the Black Caribbean group.
Apart from racism, the clear lack of role models and family disapproval, among other things, contributes towards many of the best-paid professions being disregarded by a large majority of the country’s ethnic minority population as genuine career options.
Half of the people surveyed from an ethnic minority background said they were not interested in joining the armed forces. More than a third (38%) ruled out the police while 44% ruled out politics as a career.
For all other career choices, more than one out of four said they were not interested, meaning 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.
The report highlights concerns about the work ethic and motivation of white Britons. Success was only important to 44% of this group compared with 59% overall. They were the group least interested in having a role model and appeared to have the worst access to a role model figure at university or work. Fewer white respondents had taken up work experience opportunities than any other group.
Another important difference between ethnic minorities and white Britons is the perception of barriers to careers in the professions. While 60% of white respondents saw no barriers, fewer than half ethnic minorities agreed. In addition, white Britons were markedly less interested in a banking, legal or media career.
“The results from the survey show there is still much work to be done, and are a call to action for politicians, policy makers, employers and educators to look harder at how they can ensure that these professions are seen as truly equal opportunity employers. The challenge is to ensure that for ethnic minority candidates the door to the city law firm is as open as the call centre, and that being a public leader is as normal as sitting behind a supermarket till,” said Sandra Kerr, National Campaign Director, Race for Opportunity.