In 2000 Runnymede initiated a debate on the transnational aspects of racism and xenophobia across Europe to help employers re-energise their policies and practices and explore appropriate models to combat discrimination and embrace diversity in the workplace. Our initial project in employment was made up of new primary research, which continues to be widely used today, the findings of which were published as Moving on Up? Race Equality and the Corporate Agenda: A Study of FTSE 100 Companies.
There were three specific aims for the Moving on Up? research: to
- indicate the numbers of ethnic minority professional and managerial staff in FTSE 100 companies in the UK;
- identify best practice, in terms of the policies and systems already in place in companies to actively promote equality of opportunity for ethnic minority employees;
- describe the opportunities and barriers that ethnic minority professional and managerial staff experience as they progress through organisations.
In 2001 we devised a programme of research to carry forward this element of our work. Over the summer months of 2001 additional surveys among FTSE 100 companies were carried out to see where they had got to since the publication of the initial report in 2000. This new research, reported in the September 2001 issue of the Bulletin, and published as an extended briefing paper in April 2002, entitled Widening the Talent Pool - Race Equality in FTSE 100 Companies, highlighted for us the depth of the need for innovative and creative strategies to progress race equality in the corporate climate.
The third phase of our work on employment issues commenced in summer 2002 and continues in 2003, in which Runnymede undertakes new primary research to deepen our understanding of what makes for successful diversity strategies. In this phase we focus on Middle Managers and the key roles they play in ensuring that equal opportunity and diversity policies are implemented successfully within a company or organisation. Specifically, this phase of the research is designed to:
- follow up Moving on Up? and in particular to explore further the findings from that research that there is a wide mismatch in perceptions on racial equality between HR/Personnel and ethnic minority employees;
- identify and evaluate some of the reasons for the mismatch in perceptions;
- identify the obstacles to developing and implementing race equality objectives within the diversity framework;
- develop recommendations for closing the gulf between real employee experience and company policy on equality and diversity;
This phase too will be supported by briefing papers aimed at the private sector to encourage and help them on their way, the first of which is was published in March 2003, Divided by the Same Language?: Equal Opportunities and Diversity Translated.