Empowering Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women in senior leadership: a strategic approach

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have emerged as vital foundations for organizational success. However, despite progress, many groups such as Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women, continue to face unique challenges within corporate businesses.

Currently, Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women are underrepresented in senior leadership roles in the UK. According to data from the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility report, Black women make up only 6% of senior managers in the UK, while Bangladeshi and Pakistani women make up only 4%. This lack of representation has several negative consequences, including:

  • A lack of role models for Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women in the workplace
  • A significant pay gap between Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women and white men
  • A lack of opportunities for advancement
  • A hostile and unwelcoming workplace environment

Based on the findings of the McKinsey report, we will explore the actionable insights on how companies can adapt their recruitment approach to encourage Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women senior leaders and improve their experiences through fostering a more inclusive workplace.

Cultivating inclusivity from the C-Suite

The journey towards a more diverse leadership team starts at the very top. Company executives, particularly CEOs, have considerable influence when it comes to driving DEI initiatives. McKinsey’s research highlights the impact that top-down commitment has in fostering inclusive cultures and advancing Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women’s representation in senior leadership.

Demonstrating a commitment to diversity by highlighting its significance and supporting measurable goals can set in motion cultural changes. While the C-Suite may not be responsible for setting precise actions, they can insist on the importance of a diverse leadership team, set targets, and advocate for specific strategies to enhance the representation and retention of Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women. By expressing the broader vision and collaborating with relevant stakeholders, such as HR, senior leaders can establish a comprehensive framework that guides the organization toward progress.

Strategic recruitment with an intersectional approach

When strategically recruiting senior leaders, it’s essential to understand the distinctive challenges that Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women may each encounter in the workplace. To effectively identify these challenges and tailor recruitment strategies, companies can take the following actions:

  1. Data-Driven Insights: Collect ethnicity- and age-specific data through surveys and data sets. Analyze this information through an intersectional lens to uncover specific absences or barriers on the progression of Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women.
  2. Employee Feedback Mechanisms: Establish regular surveys, focus groups, and anonymous reporting systems. These platforms empower all diverse employees including Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women to share their experiences, enabling companies to gain valuable insights directly from those affected.
  3. Employee Resources Groups: Form ERGs dedicated to supporting ethnically diverse employees in the workplace. Even if you have ERGs in place, ensure they have a clearly defined purpose and are effective in supporting the needs of Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women. Collaborating with ERGs on inclusion strategies can ensure solutions are informed by those directly impacted.
  4. Inclusive Workshops and Training: Organize workshops or partner with companies such as INvolve. Training and workshops raise awareness about intersectionality, bias, and cultural competence; this helps foster understanding across the organization and equips managers with the skills to provide effective support.

Amna Khilji, Audeliss’ Global Head of Client Development, explains, “By embracing these steps, companies can gain nuanced insights into the experiences of BBP women, enabling them to tailor recruitment strategies and create an inclusive workplace environment that supports their growth.”

Crafting tailored leadership development programs

McKinsey’s research emphasizes the significance of leadership development programs in advancing Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women’s representation in leadership and enhancing their career progression. Tailoring leadership development initiatives to address their specific needs can drive significant change.

Initiatives involving mentorship, sponsorship, and skill-building can accelerate the career trajectory of Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani women in senior roles. Practical measures, such as identifying potential employees early and offering them targeted development opportunities, can facilitate smooth transitions to senior leadership positions.

Transparent progress tracking and accountability

Continuing progress requires commitment to transparency and accountability. Audeliss’ Practice Lead & Head of Race Representation, Rachel Huggins, suggests, “Regularly monitoring KPIs tailored to senior leadership diversity goals and sharing progress updates nurtures a culture of accountability.” These insights, when split by intersectional groups, enable organizations to measure progress accurately and identify areas for improvement. Rachel continues, “To extend the impact, companies can leverage their influence to promote external initiatives that also advance senior leadership diversity.”


Promoting senior leadership diversity and inclusion is not only a strategic imperative but a moral responsibility for organizations seeking sustainable success.

By cultivating inclusivity from the top down, employing targeted recruitment strategies, crafting tailored leadership development programs, and enforcing transparent accountability methods, organizations can achieve significant change. Beyond the office walls, the positive effects of these initiatives can ripple through society, driving a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

Find out how we can help you change the face of your leadership teams here.