Anti-racist employment strategy - A Fairer Scotland for All

The strategy is a call for action and a guide to address the issues and disadvantage experienced by people from racialised minorities in the labour market in Scotland. It is a key component in achieving our ambition to become a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025.

Section 2: Action on Recruitment and Representation

Employers' recruitment, retention, and progression policies and practices are key to changing representation in a workplace. Changing the practices in each of these areas can in turn change what a workforce looks like across the whole organisation.

It can potentially change what a workplace culture feels like if there are more racially minoritised staff represented across the organisation including at senior level.

"Research has shown that companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability. A diverse workforce makes good business, economic and societal sense."[22]

Greater awareness and emphasis is being placed on creating diverse and inclusive workplaces as both moral and economic imperatives. Employers can begin to consider what kind of anti-racist practice could be taken forward in their organisation and measures that could be implemented at each stage of the employment journey.

Employers should focus on practice that challenges and changes policies and processes that disadvantage and create barriers within their organisation. Policies and processes can be reviewed and challenged at each stage of the employment journey. This includes for example:

  • Branding and communication in advance of a recruitment campaign
  • Accessible language in advertised vacancies
  • Targeted marketing
  • Flexible working
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion

Employers that ensure equality and diversity training has been undertaken by interviewers, which includes an understanding of the impact of trauma, can help to reduce bias at interview stage. Bias can also be removed if applications are anonymised. Research

has shown that racialised minorities have to send 74% more applications in order to generate the same success rate as applicants with a white-sounding name.[23] Diverse interview panels and reviewing interview questions for cultural bias/knowledge and assumptions can ensure a more equitable interview process.

Inclusive employers use a number of ways to ensure they retain their staff and that their staff feel supported and able to develop and progress. This includes:

  • Establishing and supporting staff networks, taking steps to learn to be an inclusive employer, and to develop an anti-racist culture.
  • Raising awareness of the harms of racism, including hate crime; supporting and promoting anti-racist campaigns such as National Hate Crime Awareness week.
  • Increasing leadership messaging that challenges discrimination and racism.
  • Implementing flexible working.
  • Providing relevant training to deal effectively with incidents of bullying and harassment.
  • Embedding trauma-informed and responsive practice in the workplace, which promotes the principles of safety, trust, choice, collaboration, and empowerment.

The role of lived experience

The voice of lived experience can help to identify barriers and challenges for racialised minority workers. Embedding this into every policy, process, and decision made in the organisation will ensure that these processes are informed.

Employers who have feedback from those with lived experience use this to inform and influence organisational decisions. Those who give feedback will have a clear overview of how their information will be used to inform action.

Responsibility is therefore placed on employers, leaders, and institutions to address issues and inequality, not on racialised minorities.

Organisations that engage with each other to determine whether information is already available can help avoid making repeated asks of those with lived experience or their representative organisations.

To support employers improve the recruitment and representation of racialised minorities and as part of our actions in the Fair Work Action Plan, we will:

  • Review our Minority Ethnic Recruitment Toolkit to ensure it remains useful and relevant for employers.[24]
  • Use the learning from a pilot project to improve engagement of employers and employability services with racialised minority communities to inform policy interventions.
  • Disseminate learning and best practice where employers have shown improvement in their processes to increase representation of racialised minorities. This relates to the delivery of our Workplace Equality Fund where projects focus on improving workforce diversity and positive action on progression in the workplace.
  • Continue to support work within the public sector and to take a targeted approach based on the findings of the Scottish Parliament Equalities and Human Rights Committee's inquiry report into race equality, employment and skills.

Key actions for employers

  • Analyse and assess data gathered to determine where there is inequality in outcomes between different groups according to race. This includes pay disparities and disparities in the number of staff recruited, retained, and progressed in the organisation. It also includes disparities in workplace experiences such as bullying and harassment and discrimination.
  • Assess what measures could be taken in your organisation against the examples given in the Appendix 2: Action on Recruitment and Representation and adapt to suit your organisation.
  • Use positive action measures as per the Equality Act 2010 to address under-representation in your organisation. Look at ways in which you can target your recruitment campaigns to attract racialised minorities.
  • Work across your sector/locale to share and learn practice.
  • Assess the impact of any action you have undertaken to understand its effectiveness.



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