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Ethnic minority career opportunities still lower than four years ago

Published on: 31 Mar 2022

A smaller proportion of NHS staff from ethnic minority backgrounds believe they are given equal opportunities for career progression or promotion than in the last four years, the NHS Staff Survey reveals.

Results for 2021, published yesterday, found just 44.4 per cent of these staff felt their employers did this, compared with 58.7 per cent of their white colleagues.

Although this is a slight improvement from 2020, when it was 44 per cent for minority ethnic groups, it represents a decline from 2017 when it was 47.5 per cent.

The survey also found a greater percentage of staff reported they had personally experienced discrimination at work within the last 12 months, compared to the previous year.

When asked about discrimination by patients or service users, relatives or members of the public, the figure was at 7.8 per cent in 2021, having increased in each of the last five years from 6.7 per cent in 2017.

When asked about discrimination by managers or colleagues, the figure in 2021 was 9.1 per cent, having increased in the previous two years.

Broken down, 19.2 per cent of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds reported experiencing discrimination at work from patients or service users, their relatives or other members of the public, compared with 4.8 per cent of white staff.

When it came to managers or colleagues, this was 17 per cent for staff from ethnic minority backgrounds and 6.8 per cent for white staff.

The survey found white staff reported a larger year-on-year increase in discrimination from the public, than staff from ethnic minority backgrounds did. After dropping to 25.9 per cent in 2020, this increased to 27 per cent in 2021. Staff from ethnic minority backgrounds saw a smaller increase from 28.9 per cent to 29.2 per cent from 2020 to 2021.

Similarly, a lower percentage of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds reported discrimination from their managers or colleagues in 2021 than they did in 2020. This dropped from 28.8 per cent to 27.6 per cent.

For white staff, this decreased from 23.2 per cent down to 22.5 per cent.

A new question this year found 68.5 per cent of respondents felt their organisation respected individual differences, such as different cultures, working styles, backgrounds and ideas.