It's been nearly two years since we set our short-term Race Action Plan. We've had a number highlights during the last year and our business is becoming more diverse, however our current data tells us progress is slow and there are areas where we need greater focus to deliver equitable outcomes for ethnically diverse colleagues.
Our short-term Race Action Plan has helped us to close our Ethnicity Pay Gap, now at its lowest since 2017. But the firm's rapid recent growth has seen a fall in the percentage of Partners from an ethnic minority background, underlining the need to increase the number of ethnic minorities joining our firm and progressing through to Partnership and senior management roles.
We've been impressed with the commitment to diversity and inclusion across all levels, and in all areas. Much of what we now celebrate has been achieved based on the input of many hands and voices working collectively.
"It's through the work of all leaders in the firm that we'll make the progress we've identified is needed for us to have a more diverse and inclusive firm for racial and ethnic minorities. As Managing Partner, this is high on my priority list, I fully support and am excited to be working with our champions, colleagues and D&I teams to make sure we deliver on our commitments," said Conrad Davies, UK Managing Partner, Osborne Clarke.
Our full Race Action Plan
Delivering our 2025 strategy needs teams with a diverse range of skills and cognitive diversity who bring different experiences, viewpoints and approaches to innovation and problem solving to the table. And in challenging economic times we need to consolidate, and build for future growth.
Therefore we'll continue to prioritise investment in early stage talent which, amongst other things, reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of people qualifying into the profession. It also means delivering a standout culture where our racial and ethnic minority colleagues both are, and feel, included, can develop and thrive, and can therefore be our leaders of tomorrow.
We have introduced a number of measures to improve ethnic minority representation in the firm to help us reach our target of 6% ethnicity in Partnership by 2025, our integrated change programme focuses on three areas: recruitment; retention and inclusion, and progression.
Key programmes as we move forward
Recruitment: We plan to bring in more early stage talent by increasing our placements on programmes like #10,000 Black Interns (10KBI), and launching a new long-term scholarship, work experience and mentoring programme for ethnic minority talent. Following the success in 2022, when legal interns spent a week with our client, TikTok, we will aim to involve more clients in our work.
We’re actively investing in other initiatives to encourage people from ethnic minority backgrounds to consider a legal career as their future. These present a great opportunity to help our firm develop and broaden our recruitment talent pool.
Retention and inclusion: We have seen an increase in and will continue to recruit participants for our Inclusion Allies Programme, focussing on race and ethnicity and unconscious bias (to name a few areas), which will run on a continuous cycle to support the ongoing journey of learning and self-awareness that allies commit to.
Working closely with practice groups, we're broadening our local engagement programmes which profile role models and address local challenges and behaviours. We will expand our reverse mentoring programme and integrate into senior leader and line manager development across all service lines.
Progression: We will continue to expand and develop our OC Careers Programme ethnicity strand to grow the number of ethnic minority colleagues accessing this development opportunity, and deepen engagement.
We will continue to scrutinise eligible promotion pools during the annual promotions process at a stage where action can be taken to deliver proportionate representation from underrepresented groups and ethnic minorities in particular.
These are some of our key programmes providing a short summary of what we're planning but there is more to come. Collectively we all play an important role in challenging the firm, championing inclusive values and supporting progression.
As part of our commitments, we will continue to measure and monitor our progress on a regular basis, responding to insights and communicating about our journey.
Anika Chandra, OC REACH Partner Champion
Leona Briggs, Partner and Ethnicity Champion
Rajindh Mangat, OC REACH Partner Champion
Bola Gibson, Head of Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility