Race and ethnicity students and graduates employment guide
In this employment guide we've provided advice on finding opportunities, organisations and networks that support our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and graduates.
We recognise and share the concerns held by staff and students about the use of the term BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic). We agree with Advance HE that while this definition is widely recognised and used to identify patterns of marginalisation and segregation caused by attitudes toward an individual’s ethnicity, there are significant limitations, particularly the potential for assumptions that minority ethnic staff and students are a homogenous group.
Employers’ attitudes and commitment to having a diverse workforce have improved over the last few years. Legally, an employer is not allowed to discriminate against job candidates or staff on the basis of race, as this is a protected characteristic. Many employers look to take measures to make their recruitment process more inclusive and their organisations more diverse. To avoid any unconscious bias, some employers will use blind recruitment processes, which remove identifying information such as names from a candidate's application. Alternatively, some employers look to use positive action to improve the diversity of their workforce, such as providing schemes or internships to provide experience within the employer's industry.
The following advice and links will provide a starting point for your career research and you can also arrange to speak to our team for further support.
Below is a selection of opportunities aimed at students, graduates and employees from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background. A list of opportunities grouped by sector is listed further on in this guide.
- Target Jobs run their Aspire event twice annually where students of black heritage can meet with employers, attend workshops and build networks.
- The Civil Service Fast Stream offers programmes, which are open to students in their penultimate or final year.
- The House of Commons run a BAME internship programme across a range of different opportunities.
- BYP Network connects black professionals to each other, job opportunities and events.
- Ethnic Jobsite gives recruiters a platform to link employers and candidates in the UK.
What to look for when researching employersYou may find it helpful to do some research into employers that interest you, particularly with regards to their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the workforce. Many employers will have an 'about us' section on their website which touches on their ethics and values. You can look over these to see if the employer has included anything about increasing and supporting the diversity of their workforce, including whether they offer any schemes or programmes to attract diverse employees. In some instances, employers may also provide case studies to showcase their initiatives. Our guide to researching an employer will help you get started in discovering if your employer of interest is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce.
What do you need to tell a potential employer?
As an applicant, there are many ways you can demonstrate your range of skills, qualifications and experience to their maximum potential. It’s helpful to think of the assets you can bring to an organisation; for instance, your ability to relate well to a range of individuals from multicultural backgrounds and perhaps some additional language skills. Although, it is not a legal requirement to disclose race and ethnicity, some students from minority ethnic backgrounds can be concerned about how to market their skills so that they're reviewed without discrimination.
According to the Institute of Employers ‘Black Careers Matters’ Report 2021, ‘applicants for jobs from ethnic minorities have to send 60% more applications to receive the same number of call backs as White candidates.’ The report also showed how there is a demand for employers to commit to making their recruitment process more inclusive and to make sure they actively support the professional development of Black students. More graduate employers recognise and have responded to the urgent action needed to improve their diversity and inclusion policies and hiring practises (see our advice on researching employers above).
It's crucial to remember that any experience, including involvement with cultural societies or religious activities, can be presented in a positive way by highlighting the skills that were involved, for instance leadership and organisation.
It’s also important not to underestimate the value employers place upon transferable skills gained through extracurricular activities and/or voluntary work.
Support organisations and networks
- The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union has dedicated BAME Ambassadors who work on a number of issues within the University, including addressing the attainment gap. The Union provides events, activities and campaigns throughout the year to promote equality and diversity within the university.
- BYP Network is the largest network of black professionals in the UK with over 50,000 members. Founded in London in 2016, they connect black professionals to each other for upskilling, networking purposes and job opportunities.
- Rare Recruitment, Ethnic Jobsite, BAME Recruitment, Asian Jobsite and Diversity Jobsite are resources which offer training opportunities and vacancies.
- Future Leaders run workshops and conferences for diverse students on a variety of themes.
- SEO London support ethnic minority students into securing professional opportunities after graduation.
- Inclusive Graduates connects undergraduates and graduates from diverse backgrounds with employers.
- POCC is a UK based organisation who connect culturally and ethnically diverse individuals with creative industries.
- Creative Access support under-represented groups to break into the creative industries.
- The organisation Business in the Community also runs a campaign called Race for Opportunity in which their employer members are encouraged to work towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
- #10000 Black Interns offers paid work experience across a wide variety of sectors.
- Blueprint for All offer support to young people up to the age of 30 to enable them to succeed in their chosen career.
- The Other Box educates businesses on bias, and connects a network of people from underrepresented backgrounds.
- Elba runs a Parity Project to improve the employability of young black men.
- LinkedIn has a variety of different networks that you may find useful to join and connect with members. You may be interested in the Black Executives Network, Black Enterprise, or the National Society of Black Engineers. Building connections on LinkedIn may help you to discover other networks that are of interest to you, and establish connections with diverse individuals and employers. Read our LinkedIn guide for more advice on how to get started.
Opportunities by sector
- Blueprint for all - The Building Futures Programme is for those considering a career in architecture, are already studying or are working in the profession.
Charity, non-profit and volunteering
- Black Fundraisers UK - An organisation which connects fundraisers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and offers support.
- Charityworks Fast Track - Designed to give Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicants a development experience to prepare them to launch a career in the non-profit sector.
- Sewport - A fashion design scholarship for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students.
- KPMG - Multiple insight opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students in finance and engineering.
- Uncovering Prospects - An annual careers event for students of Black heritage who are interested in pursuing opportunities in London.
- Bank of England - Offering experiences for students of any background, and a scholarship for students of Black or African-Caribbean background.
- Historic England - Placement opportunities across a variety of heritage organisations for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicants.
- Windsor Fellowship - Heritage Fund Graduate Traineeship Programme.
- Law Society - Supporting aspiring solicitors from diverse backgrounds to begin their career.
- Society of Asian Lawyers - A society providing opportunities, events and support in the legal profession.
- Society of Black Lawyers - A society promoting equality and diversity within the legal profession.
- BCLP - Organises diversity events and programmes, including an African-Caribbean Recruitment initiative.
- Sky - Offering multiple diversity programmes including a Back Heritage digital insight week.
- NCTJ - Provides funding for people of diverse backgrounds while they undertake NCTJ journalism training.
- Chartered Society of Physiotherapy - Provides network to represent the interests of BAME members.
- Civil Service Early Diversity Programme - A one week paid insight into the Civil Service and Fast Stream.
- Civil Service Summer Diversity Programme - A 6 to 9 week paid programme which provides insights for students from diverse backgrounds.
- Government Communication Service - A paid internship programme for students or recent graduates from diverse backgrounds.
- MI5 Summer Diversity Intelligence Internship - An 11 week internship for students from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.
- The Guardian - Placement opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals with an interest in journalism.
- HarperCollins Traineeship - A 12 month salaried contract for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic graduates to experience roles within the publishing sector.
- The Scheme - A 6 month paid traineeship with Penguin Random for individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic or diverse backgrounds.
- AFBE - The Association for Black and Ethnic Minority Engineers provides support and promotes achievement among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic engineers.
- BBSTEM - Promoting representation and opportunities for black individuals working in STEM professions.