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Is Everyone Really Equal In The Workplace?

By Features Desk

Monday, August 7, 2017.

There will be a lot of people out there who will be all too quick to say that everyone nowadays is equal. These people mean well, but when you see racial attacks happening, the confederate flag flying high, prejudiced comments on social media and massive gaps in workplace equality - you might have to shake your head and politely disagree.  The world has an equality problem - USA, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Egypt - you name it - every country in the world seems scared of different people in such a way that this fear and phobia - or even institutional racism - has a huge impact on the daily life of anyone considered to be an ethnic minority. If you're black, you're three times more likely to be involved in a crime - as a victim. If you're an ethnic minority, you are more likely to be unemployed. You're more likely to live in poverty and be under-represented. And people will say, if you get your role, that you got it to fill a quota!

In Britain, if you're black or an ethnic you can still expect to be in an 'invisible' trench war for equality. In fact, the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that Black university graduates with the same qualifications as their white or indigenous counterparts earned almost a quarter less when they found a job - that's if they earned a job at all. More ethnic minorities are unemployed than white unemployed people. This might represent a change that needs work from the highest members in society - business owners and the Government. Don’t think this gets better in the United States as well - a country which still hasn’t made amends for the racism it is built on. Now, people are genuinely trying to get better at this ‘equality’ thing - but that doesn’t stop those with blind or subconscious biases, who might be unwilling to hire a foreign or differently coloured worker. What someone says is one thing, but what they do is what really matters, especially so when it comes to equality. Poorness is something that doesn't seem to discriminate - no matter your color, you'll still find it tough if you've not got money; it's just that some will find it more tougher than others!


The thing is, people who aren't white have a lot to offer - so much so that it will boost an economy. Businesses need to realize what BME (black and minority ethnic) workers can bring to a business. BME workers are more likely to find work in low-skilled, low qualified professions, even with skills, degrees, and experience under their belt. That's not right. While plenty of people might find it difficult to get by and get a good job, BME folks have a hard path pretty much guaranteed.

Simply put, BME people are not matching their makeup. BME people make up a proportion of the world's population that is not matched by the amount of BME workers in management, ownership and leadership positions. This is where the problem lies. If BME workers who are leaders are a statistical anomaly, we have a huge problem. BME workers need to close that gap - and while it might not be a fifty/fifty split - it could certainly be a fairer. This is where our problem lies. A lack of role models is often blamed for the equality gap, so if BME workers aren’t being considered for leadership roles, this will be a self perpetuating problem. Apart from this BME workers found that discrimination and networking were holding them back. With the majority of leadership roles going to other people - BME workers might not be in the circles which lead to promotion. Nepotism is holding BME workers back and would be a side product of the discrimination experienced.

What’s more, BME workers are likely to be hurt on the job - which shows a darker side to all of this. Are people outside of the status quo likely to have their training overlooked? Who knows. Workplaces need to ensure that their training does not discriminate and helps everyone. Services like Health Assured can also ensure health needs are attended to, without bias. We need to ensure all workers are safe and happy - not just the ones who like, and act like, the leaders


The thing is - discrimination isn't just something BME workers have to deal with. If you're a woman, disabled, non-white, young, old - or are anything that puts you outside of the status quo, you're likely to experience some kind of workplace discrimination. This all stacks - if you're a BME woman, with disabilities, you might experience the extremities of discrimination, and your skills might be ignored in favor of someone who fits the status quo. This is the problem we need to eradicate, and it's not just limited to one country. You can find discrimination across the globe, but for us - it’s a problem in first world countries that is the most upsetting. These are the lands of opportunity, but only for the few and not the many! We need that to be opened up, because right now - it seems that inequality is the order of the day for the businesses of the world.

Is everyone equal in the workplace of 2017? No. As much as management and leaders might believe it, workplaces are not equal. While your specific place of work might highlight and focus on diversity and encouraging the success of minority workers, the bigger pictures shows that BME workers are falling behind. The future might be bright, and more BME workers are leading than ever before, but it's still not enough. 2017 means one thing - that we should all be considered the same, regardless of who we are. If skills and experience are being looked over because of our looks and skin colour, we've got issues that need to be rectified. Difficult conversations must be had, and action must be taken - even if unions are considered - because the world of unemployed and underutilized minority workers has so much to offer, for the benefit of everyone.

Is Everyone Really Equal In The Workplace?

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