Labour Research November 2021

Equality news

Black graduates need in-work support

Black graduates need support not just at the recruitment stage but also during their early careers, according to a recent study from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE).

Based on surveys and interviews, ISE’s Black careers matter report looked at the actions taken by some of the UK’s largest graduate employers and at the experiences of Black heritage students and graduates. It said CEO backing was essential to making a difference to recruitment and retention.

The report said Black graduates acknowledged they were moving from relatively diverse university environments into workplaces that were likely to be less diverse.

But they were unprepared for the explicit and covert racism and non-inclusive workplace environments and found poor representation of Black people in senior positions.

As well as the effort and skill required to know how to “fit in” and adapt to the expectations of White colleagues, respondents found they had to prove themselves by performing better than White peers.

They called for more help to transition into work successfully and more support and training on dealing with race and racism as well as understanding unconscious bias.

The study found the most effective strategies to enable Black graduates to successfully engage employers and progress include substantial forms of work experience and providing support networks such as mentoring and buddy schemes.