Racial Bar to Region's Top Jobs; Just 0.2% of Managers Come from Ethnic Minority Groups

Article excerpt

Byline: BY PAULA OWENS Daily Post Staff

MERSEYSIDE is the worst place in the country for people from ethnic groups to pursue a career in management, according to a new report.

Just 0.2% of management roles in the region are filled by non-whites, despite estimates putting Merseyside's ethnic population at around 8%.

Figures published in a report by Race for Opportunity, which is part of Prince Charles' charity, Business in the Community, also show that the percentage of non-whites in management roles in Merseyside has not changed - remaining at 0.2% since 2000.

Other regions have shown an increase in the percentage of those from ethnic groups working as managers.

Corresponding figures for the whole North West showed a rise from 3.4% to 4.7%.

A spokesman for Race for Opportunity said: "Despite a growth in the ethnic population in Merseyside between 2000 and 2007, their share of management positions in the region hasn't changed.

"Merseyside is the worst place in the country for an ethnic minority to secure a management job."

Labour Councillor Anna Rothery, Liverpool's only black councillor and chair of Liverpool Black Leadership Forum, said: "Liverpool is perceived by many as the most racist city in the country.

"I speak to people from ethnic minorities from all over the country and this is what they say.

"Sadly, these figures bear out that perception. "This is a poor state of affairs, especially for a place that likes to call itself 'The World in one City'.

"This city is unable to retain talented ethnic men and women with management skills. They get their qualifications and we lose them to London or elsewhere, where they have more potential to progress. It's a shame we can't retain this home-grown talent.

"I'm committed to the city and am a councillor here but I also have to be able to support myself financially so I commute to Manchester every day to work in a senior management role."

Ms Rothery says it's not just attaining a management role in the first place that is problematic, but also maintaining that role.

She said: "A lot of white workers in this city struggle to take direction from a non-white manager. My own experience has been really off-putting. You have to be really thick-skinned as you are often undermined in your position as many workers refuse to take your direction."

She believes the perception of non-white people in the work place needs to be tackled from the bottom up and from the top down.

She said: "Local authorities and the private sector need to have an open, frank discussion.

"People at the top don't want to discuss this as it is a sensitive issue but it needs to happen. …