The race diversity campaign of the charity, Business in the Community, has claimed in research published last week that race discrimination against minority job seekers is rife in recruitment agencies.

The study by Race for Opportunity - Race and Recruitment: Exposing the Barriers - showed that job seekers from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background were not treated equally by recruitment agencies. In the past 12 months, just 29 per cent of BAME candidates were offered a job compared to 44 per cent of white candidates.

As part of an in-depth study of more than 2,500 people looking for work in the last 12 months, it also found that a significantly lower proportion of BAME applicants were invited to interview when applying through a recruitment agency. Just over half of BAME applicants (57 per cent) compared to nearly three quarters of white applicants (73 per cent) reached this stage.

More than a third (39 per cent) of BAME candidates said they would prefer alternative assessment methods to an interview. Despite BAME applicants feeling adequately prepared for their last interview, with 66 per cent saying they had sufficient knowledge about the industry and the potential employer, there was still a low conversion rate to interview or job offer.

Almost half of BAME job applicants (47 per cent) said that evidence of diverse role models and statements openly welcoming applications from diverse candidates had a big impact on deciding which agencies and employers to approach.

The research was jointly commissioned by Race for Opportunity and Diversity Works for London as part of the mayoral initiative to support businesses and strengthen their ability to become more diverse.

To read the full report on Race and Recruitment - Exposing the Barriers visit the Business in the Community website.