My Big Four firm says it’s not racist, but it is

Martina, Junior Consultant

I work in audit for a Big Four firm in London. All the messaging here is about how diverse we are, and how important diversity is, but it’s all hot air.

The diversity in my team is all at junior levels, and it’s mostly the result of hiring immigrants on visas. Almost all the partners and the senior managers here are British nationals and are Caucasian.

The hypocrisy is starting to grate. I am a minority myself and I feel that my ethnicity is holding me back. I am working incredibly hard, 60 hours a week, but I don’t feel that I’m being rewarded or promoted for my effort. Instead, I see local people promoted ahead of me, despite the fact that they’re doing nothing different. I also see ethnic minorities being let go ahead of locals.

The bias is both conscious and unconscious. On one hand, I’ve been told that I can’t visit a client who only likes working with Caucasians and local British people. On the other, I think that the partners and senior managers are promoting in their image.

Of course, my firm is very good at optics. There are a handful of people of colour in senior positions and they are used to justify the treatment of everyone else. Because the junior and mid-ranking roles are filled with people of diverse ethnicity on visas, most of them are extremely submissive and don’t challenge the status quo for fear of losing everything. Instead, once it becomes apparent that they won’t get promoted, they quietly leave and get a job in industry instead.

Personally, I am fed up with it. I’m tempted to complain for the sake of my own integrity, but people keep telling me to stay quiet and to find somewhere else to work instead. I would appreciate some advice in the comments below.

Anil Vadekar –

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