Almost half (49 per cent) of black professionals in Ireland believe that their ethnicity has negatively affected their career opportunities and career development in Ireland.
That’s according to a survey of 118 members of the African Professional Network of Ireland (APNI), a volunteer-run group of members of the Afro-Irish and African diaspora community across Ireland.
Among the main barriers they say they have identified are: unconscious racial bias in hiring people who were “the same”; lack of mentorship and networking opportunities; and lack of ethnically diverse role models in Irish business.
Almost all respondents had a diploma and a majority (69 per cent) had additional postgraduate qualifications. Over three-quarters indicated that they were proficient in at least one other language in addition to English.
Respondents were predominantly employed in the ICT and technology sectors, followed by retail and hospitality services and professional services, including financial and legal.
A majority (67 percent) believed that their sector supports inclusion and diversity in the workplace. However, more than a third (36 percent) indicated that they are not employed in the desired role.
Ayo Olabimtan, APNI president and chief investment officer at NTR plc, said that while it was clear that some career barriers still existed for black communities in Ireland, it found “huge appetite” among companies to understand more about what they can do to ensure their companies and recruitment processes are inclusive.
He was speaking after APNI’s first careers event hosted by LinkedIn in Dublin. Over 550 people attended the event, which aimed to connect top talent from the Afro-Irish, African diaspora and black communities in Ireland with employers and employment opportunities.
“We hear from many of our members that they lack the professional network to support their careers, so the simple and practical step of creating a platform for people to meet colleagues and companies face-to-face was a key priority for us at APNI,” he said.
A number of companies representing significant employers in Ireland supported the event, including LinkedIn, Google, NTR plc, JP Morgan, Accenture, Apple, Workday, LetsGetChecked, Fidelity International, Optum, Sky, Zoetis, HubSpot and Mercury.