Sandra Kerr CBE
Race Director, Business in the Community
A mentor can be an essential part of an employee’s experience at work. But not everyone has one, and we need more women to step up and mentor people.
Four in ten carers say their responsibilities have prevented them from applying for jobs or promotions. This is more common for women and carers from Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnically diverse backgrounds compared to men and white carers.1
Mental health consequences
Recent research finds that out of employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds, Black women are the least likely to be among the UK’s top earners compared to other racial and gender groups.2 These inequalities and challenges will affect women’s finances, careers and mental health and wellbeing. A 2014 survey by the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit found that almost a third of Black and Black British female respondents reported experiencing a common mental health disorder in the same week.
54% of Black and Black British and 70% of Arab respondents want a mentor.
Value of a mentor
Having a mentor can be an essential part of anyone’s career. But not everyone has one, and we need more women to step up and mentor people at various stages of their careers.
Our 2021 Race at Work Survey found that out of over 24,000 employees surveyed about their work experiences, more than half from different ethnic backgrounds did not have a mentor. It also found that 54% of Black and Black British and 70% of Arab respondents want a mentor.3 Employees from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds have been shown to display high levels of career ambition but often feel a lack of opportunity for career progression.4
That is why we need businesses to sign up for Business in the Community (BITC)’s Race at Work Charter where people can become mentors to their colleagues, regardless of what career stage they are at, so they can understand working at different levels.
Our Mental Health and Wellbeing for Ethnically Diverse Women toolkit can help managers understand the challenges that female colleagues of Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnically diverse backgrounds face — and receive guidance on how to support them.5 We can help each other by taking that step and becoming a mentor.
 Business in the Community, Who Cares? Report. 2021. https://www.bitc.org.uk/report/who-cares/
 LSE, Black women are least likely to be among UK’s top earners, 2021. https://www.lse.ac.uk/News/Latest-news-from-LSE/2021/c-March-21/Black-women-are-least-likely-to-be-among-UKs-top-earners
 Business in the Community. Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report. https://www.bitc.org.uk/report/race-at-work-2021-the-scorecard-report/
 Business in the Community. Race at Work 2018: The Scorecard Report. https://www.bitc.org.uk/report/race-at-work-2018-the-scorecard-report/
 Business in the Community, Mental Health and Wellbeing for Ethnically Diverse Women, 2021. https://www.bitc.org.uk/toolkit/mental-health-and-wellbeing-for-ethnically-diverse-women/