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Whitepaper 'BAME Representation in the Workplace': Airing diversity challenges in industry

Rebekah Valero-Lee engineering

Bame 3

​Recent data analysis revealed that BAME attrition within technical sectors – aviation, construction, engineering – is double that compared to other industries.

BAME workers make up almost 15 per cent (13.8%) of the audited workforce, and reasons for these individuals choosing to leave their roles, the data shows, have included experiences of discrimination. The same was true for other demographics, including LGBTQ+ and those who identify as female. To achieve our mission of creating an entirely equal and diverse workforce, these issues needed addressing.

As such, we commissioned further research to truly understand the individual pain points of workers in these industries. We asked them to be frank and completely honest in their feedback so that our clients could quickly implement changes to improve working conditions for all, then develop longer-term strategies in line with people’s issues, challenges and needs, so that within five years, workplaces in these sectors are free from insult, abuse and prejudice. This whitepaper explores those findings.

Aviation, nuclear, engineering and other technical sectors are complex industries which present often-challenging working environments. Each provides the opportunity to work with people from around the globe, so building a workforce that embraces diversity, and equally reflects the makeup of its user groups, communities and multicultural stakeholders, is even more critical.

It’s widely accepted that organisations understand that their workforces are their most important asset and that ensuring every one of their colleagues is valued and is treated fairly, equally and respectfully, is critical to its success. However, our research reveals that discrimination is taking place across multiple industries, which is becoming a direct contributor to attrition levels – especially amongst BAME workers – making it harder to achieve true diversity.

According to our research, more than a third (34%) have experienced discrimination in the workplace at a former employer, with almost one in three forced to leave a role earlier than planned due to workplace discrimination.

When asked to detail their experiences, workers revealed discrimination occurred in relation to:

  • 30% mental or physical disability

  • 15% race

  • 14% gender

  • 11% ethnicity

  • 10% age

  • 5% sexual orientation

  • 5% religious belief or activity

  • 5% equal pay

  • 3% pregnancy or parenthood

  • 1% marital status


When asked which of a variety of workplace issues would cause them to leave a role, key results were as follows:

  • 42% if I was harassed/bullied

  • 39% poor company culture

  • 38% if I’d reached burnout (lack of energy, passion or motivation to do the job)

  • 38% if I experienced discrimination

  • 30% if colleagues treated one another or were treated with a lack of respect

  • 29% not being made to feel included

  • 25% if I experienced racism

  • 19% lack of policies around equality, diversity and inclusion

“It is unquestionable that businesses must focus on employing people who reflect the diversity of modern-day society by ultimately providing fair and supportive working environments for all, regardless of age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origin, religion and more.

“But what these figures portray is that organisations aren’t achieving this and what’s more, it is directly contributing to them losing talented workers.

“Though many of the experiences shared in this research go back several years, they still reflect the perceptions and barriers to potential employees with diverse backgrounds from joining – or remaining within – these sectors. It’s clear that true equality must stretch beyond the traditional parameters of gender and race, with effective ED&I strategies implemented to embrace multiple hard to reach groups.” - Sam Price, head of client engagement at the Morson Group


When analysed further, the data reveals a disparity in the number of people who have experienced workplace discrimination depending on whether they are a BAME colleague.

On average, almost an additional fifth of BAME employees shared that they have experienced discrimination, compared to those of white backgrounds. For some ethnicities – such as Black/British Caribbean – the outcome is absolute; every single worker of this specific background has been discriminated against in a current or previous role.

Percentage who have experienced discrimination in the workplace (current or previous role)

  • Black/British Caribbean 100%

  • White Irish 50%

  • Asian/British Bangladeshi 67%

  • White other 50%

  • Asian/British Pakistani 57%

  • White European 48%

  • Asian other 50%

  • White Gypsy/traveller 33%

  • Asian/British Indian 41%

  • White British 26%

  • Black/British African 30%

Total average 58% Total average 41.4%

Unconscious bias touches every aspect of ED&I in the workplace. During talent acquisition, for example, bias has a multitude of ways of preventing a connection between a company and its potential workforce:

  • Simple definitions within a job vacancy can easily alienate some groups by creating barriers due to the role’s requirements and descriptions

  • Unconscious bias and prejudice from the Hiring Manager can also influence candidate evaluations and ultimate selections

  • A company’s culture can also create bias, especially where they have a reputation for not being an inclusive place to work, which will eventually be discovered by colleagues through word of mouth, social media, company review websites like Glassdoor and other avenues

To deliver on our long-term commitment towards ED&I, and in response to the research, we are working with clients to implement initiatives which welcome diverse recruits to the workplace, with the long-term view of retaining that talent to make outstanding contributions and improvements to the aviation industry.

Download your copy of the full whitepaper here: