Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Tories: Quiz firms on ethnic mix

Alok Sharma said firms could be asked to provide an ethnic breakdown of employees at different levels of seniority

Big companies would be urged to declare what proportion of their workforce is black and ethnic minority under a plan being considered by senior Conservative figures.

David Cameron has reportedly asked ministers to come up with ideas that would help the party reach out to communities that are not traditionally Tory-supporting.

Conservative Party vice-chairman Alok Sharma said that could include asking firms to provide an ethnic breakdown of employees at different levels of seniority.

"We could also have some sort of voluntary code for listed companies, to say if you have taken on 10 people this year, and you had 100 interviews, and you had 1,000 people who applied, can we see the breakdown by gender and ethnic balance?" he told The Times.

"Other countries already do it in terms of the gender balance but we would be doing something new if we did it in terms of the ethnic balance."

Mr Sharma said he was not talking about quotas but "information" that would improve transparency.

"I'm not talking about quotas, it's about information. All the companies I've talked to are incredibly keen on having diversity in the workforce, making sure that they are representative of communities so long as people get the job on merit," he said.

"This could be an interesting way of shining a light and saying to people, maybe you should be doing a bit more mentoring with these communities. Something like that is a statement of values."

The Times reported that Tory Cabinet ministers had been briefed by the Prime Minister's strategy chief Andrew Cooper on the difficulties the party faced appealing to ethnic minorities.

Just 16% of non-white voters backed the Conservative Party at the last election, the paper said.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz