Report: The Middle


This report examines the reasons why BAME middle managers are not progressing to senior executive roles within large businesses operating in the UK, and what can be done about it.

Commissioned by the Black British Business Awards, the report generates critical insights garnered directly from stakeholders within large private sector organisations operating in the UK, and offers practical and nuanced recommendations to companies seeking to advance racial and ethnic equality and inclusion.

The report is divided into three chapters:

  1. Looks at why businesses operating in the UK have not made greater progress. The report reflects the stakeholders’ perspectives on the issues occupying organisations such that they are held back from effectively speeding up the progression of middle-level BAME talent.
  2. Asks what the key levers for change are in an organisation wishing to drive a BAME advancement agenda. Feedback is grouped into four themes: how we talk about race, the impact of insider/outsider dynamics on career advancement, the ‘informalisation’ of formal processes, and the question of targets.
  3. Puts the spotlight on two key themes emerging from the first two chapters. The first is that there is poor strategic alignment between the four stakeholder groups that are the subject of this research, and inadequate co-ordination between them. The second is that there is insufficient clarity as to who is accountable for delivery of the BAME advancement agenda, and what each stakeholder group specifically takes accountability for.