Tackling race inequality in employment

Call for public authorities to back commitment.

Public sector organisations in Scotland are being urged to help break down the barriers faced by minority ethnic workers.

As part of a joint commitment, the Scottish Government is calling on employers in the public sector to review their recruitment procedures and publish the “pay gap” faced by minority ethnic groups in order to confront, and address, issues of race inequality.

The commitment was unveiled at the Public Sector Leadership Summit on Race Equality in Employment today.

Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

"We need to have an open and honest conversation about race in the workplace.

"Only by talking about it openly and understanding institutional racism do we start to get to the heart of the issues within organisations and identify solutions that will lead to equality and positive outcomes for minority ethnic workers.

"Only then will we have the solid foundations on which to build our policies and practices.

"I am absolutely committed to helping public authorities deliver this change, but as the commitment makes clear, this is not just a job for Government, it is one for all of us. We must be example-setters, leaders, and enthusiastic advocates for change."

David Wallace, chief executive of Social Security Scotland, said:

“I am delighted to add my signature to this commitment to remove barriers to employment for our minority ethnic communities.

“At Social Security Scotland, we are committed to increasing our workforce diversity through open and inclusive recruitment and by increasing awareness within the organisation of the measures we need to take to increase representation at all levels.

“This is an important step towards equal opportunities for everyone throughout the public sector.”

Councillor Kelly Parry, COSLA’s Community Well-being Spokesperson, said: 

“COSLA welcomes today’s Public Sector Leadership Summit and the opportunity it provides for the discussions that will take place in relation to achieving race equality in employment across the public sector.

 “Breaking down all barriers to employment is a long held aspiration of COSLA that we are keen to see come to fruition."


The commitment, published by the Scottish Government, pledges to implement the key recommendations  made by the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights committee last year in a report into race equality in the employment market.

The heads of public sector organisations in Scotland are encouraged to devise plans which identify the "structural barriers" for ethnic minority candidates and remove them, in line with another key action of the commitment.

The employment gap, comparing rates employment rates between ethnic minority and white candidates currently sits at 13.1%

The work will feed into ongoing activity to tackle racial inequality in employment, including the Race Equality Framework 2016-2030.


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