June marked the first time a guard wore a turban at the Trooping The Colour Parade, a landmark moment to show how the military is becoming more cosmopolitan and is not discriminating to alienate potential candidates.
In a similar but less inspirational move, the BBC has announced it will end all-white candidate lists for senior roles. Likewise, PwC will end all-male shortlists. PwC has a 43% pay gap between men and women whilst none of the 90+ senior roles in the BBC is occupied by BAME candidates.
Underrepresentation at the top of an organisation is believed to be the biggest cause of PwC’s pay gap as women account for 48% of the workforce. Whilst race pay gap reporting does not exist yet, a similar pay gap for BAME employees could exist at the BBC due to underrepresentation at the top of the corporation.
Some say such acts of positive discrimination eliminate meritocracy and result in people who are under-qualified getting over-promoted but there is evidence to suggest race and gender do provide a certain advantage if you are white and male. A survey published by the Independent in March 2018 found that there are 5 BAME and 7 female chief executives at FTSE 100 companies, in contrast, there are 9 Davids and 4 Steves.
Part of the reason female and BAME candidates have a glass ceiling could be due to an unconscious bias of the decision makers who appoint them. Whether it be ordering at a restaurant or hiring an employee, people naturally tend to stick to what is familiar: white men tend to hire white men.
Therefore, having a ban on all male/white shortlists means decision makers get the chance to interview someone whose ideas they might not otherwise consider. Whilst decisions will always be made on merit it does give a voice to those who previously hadn’t always been heard.