Sadiq Khan has declared City Hall “committedly anti-racist” as he launched a new plan to boost employment of young black men in London.
One in five young men in the capital is black, according to City Hall estimates – but black men are much more likely to be unemployed than their white peers.
A third of young black men were out of work last year, compared to just 15 per cent of white youngsters.
Even with high training the disparity persists: 13 per cent of black male graduates were unemployed compared to four per cent of white graduates, according to Government statistics.
Now the Mayor wants London businesses to focus on hiring black Londoners to address that gap.
Mr Khan is asking companies to pledge their support for diversity, set measurable employment targets, and work to remove bias from the recruitment process – such as poorly targeting marketing of jobs, and all white interview panels.
Mr Khan also wants firms to act swiftly on claims of discrimination and offer a clear route for employees from minority groups to get promotions.
Businesses should also consider using black, Asian and minority ethnic owned businesses in their supply chains, he said.
City Hall is first in line signing up to the new guidance, along with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, which oversees the Metropolitan Police.
Mr Khan will also launch a review of the “structural barriers” at City Hall that are stopping ethnic minority employees – and specifically black staff – from getting promotions to top jobs.
City Hall will then set specific targets for employing black Londoners, including in top level jobs – around 12 per cent of the city’s population is black.
The Mayor said diversity is London’s “greatest strength” but warned that many companies “fail to present a true picture of modern London” in their workforce.
“Your background, gender and ethnicity should have no bearing on what you can achieve,” he said.
“This is why part of becoming actively anti-racist involves acknowledging the fact systemic racism remains pervasive across society.
“Employers and businesses must do more to embed anti-racist practices in their operations and their company culture.”