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Business

Bank of England governor Bailey pledges to ‘improve diversity’

The Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey (Photo: Kirsty O’Connor – WPA Pool/Getty Images).

By: Shilpa Sharma

THE Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey promised to put more efforts to tackle systemic racial inequality after a review discovered the 327-year-old institution fell short of promoting diversity.

In an article written for the Guardian after the release of a report by the Bank’s governing court, Bailey agreed that structural and cultural change was needed in its approach.

The report stated that staff from ethnic minority backgrounds were less likely to be promoted, earned less and were more likely to feel they were being treated unfairly than their white colleagues.

It said there was “still a long way to go” for one of the UK’s most high-profile employers.

The Bank’s overall strategy for racial and ethnic inclusion lacked focus and clarity, with diversity given a lower priority comparatively, the report added.

The report mentioned about the ‘leaky pipeline’ in experienced recruiting at the Bank. It highlighted that for experienced job openings at the Bank, the minority ethnic share of candidates fell throughout the recruitment process.

During 2019-20, the minority ethnic share of applicants was 44 per cent. This fell to 38 per cent at the interview stage and then again to 29 per cent when candidates were hired.

This is partly because many externally advertised roles tended to be filled by internal candidates. And the Bank’s internal candidate pool was less ethnically diverse than the pool of external candidates.

It further said that after joining the Bank, White colleagues usually receive higher performance ratings, greater opportunities for career development than minority ethnic colleagues.

Besides, ethnic minority colleagues were more likely to leave the Bank amid disparities in their career experiences.

“These higher attrition rates, coupled with fewer opportunities and slower promotion rates, led to lower representation of minority ethnic colleagues at senior levels,” the report said.

It made 16 recommendations, which includes fixing accountability on senior managers for meeting inclusion targets.

In his response to the review, Bailey said the ambition to create a truly diverse and inclusive Bank was “mission critical” for his organisation.

“As a first step, we have made diversity and inclusion one of our core strategic priorities for the coming years. This means increased focus, effort and energy from me, my senior team and Bank colleagues more broadly. We have also agreed new and stretching targets to increase representation – including at our most senior levels,” he wrote.

Bailey agreed that the Bank’s record was not good enough. “It was apparent that despite the substantial efforts by the organisation over the past decade or so, we were making insufficient progress on diversity and inclusion, particularly in the area of ethnicity.”

According to the Bank’s latest annual report, minority ethnic employees make up about one-fifth of its near 4,600-strong workforce, missing targets for representation in senior management posts.

“My hope, however, is that, during my time as governor, the Bank will be increasingly seen not only as a national institution with rich heritage but also one that has upped its game in order to embrace modernity, diversity and change,” Bailey said.

The review led by Diana Noble, a court member, said that despite the Bank’s efforts, “there were still material disparities between the collective lived experiences, career opportunities and outcomes of minority ethnic and white colleagues”.

Eastern Eye

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