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City diversity standards in the spotlight as two reports show challenges faced by ethnic minorities, women

Nearly half of Black respondents reported having experienced racism at work, while women felt held back in their careers by “mediocre” male middle managers

Lloyds Banking Group - City diversity standards in the spotlight as two reports show challenges faced by ethnic minorities, women

Businesses in the City have been put in the spotlight as two reports are showing challenges faced by ethnic minorities and women in the office.

Nearly half of Black employees have experienced racism at work, along with 26% East Asian, 23% South Asia and 24% of mixed Race workers, according to a study conducted by City Mental Health Alliance in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY).

READ: Smaller companies lag on gender and racial diversity at board levels, study finds

Over half of the total said the experience had negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing.

Almost half of South Asian (46%), East Asian (45%) and Black employees (43%) reported that they felt like they needed to change aspects of their behaviour to fit in at work, compared to only a quarter (27%) of White British people.

The pandemic has made the situation worse, according to researchers, with respondents from ethnic minorities more likely to have had a traumatic personal or family experience or death of a loved one.

“Businesses have a responsibility and an opportunity to build not only diverse, but also inclusive and mentally healthy workplaces,” said Poppy Jaman, chief executive at City Mental Health Alliance.

“I have seen an outpouring of commitment to action from business on the mental health and the inclusion agenda over the last year, so the momentum is there.”

In terms of gender, research by Women In Banking and Finance and the London School of Economics showed that women in finance feel their careers are hampered by “mediocre” male middle managers playing internal politics.

These managers were also found to fake empathy when managing women, the Financial Times reported.

The report, supported by major City names such as such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays (LON:BARC) and Citi, as well as the Financial Conduct Authority, said respondents felt that men were had more room for mistakes or to be average performers.

Grace Lordan, an associate professor at the LSE and founding director of The Inclusion Initiative, told the FT the progress made in the financials sector “it’s nowhere near equality… We’re still very, very far away from equality”.

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