Cultural communities

Lady prescription

As one of the largest employers in many local communities, it is important that NHS employers support the recruitment, employment and experience of black and ethnic minority (BAME) staff, including the Gypsy and Traveller community and staff with a religion or belief. Taking action will make a positive change to staff experience, workforce supply and retention within your organisation. 


Did you know?

  • ESR currently collects 73 ethnicity categories and 10 religion and belief categories including atheism and unknown.
  • Approximately one in four NHS staff are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background according to the Workforce Race Equality Standard Report (WRES, 2018).
  • According to a recent Business in the Community research report:
    • 29 per cent of BAME candidates who applied through a recruitment agency were offered a job, compared to 44 per cent of white applicants.
    • 57 per cent of BAME applicants were invited to interviews through a recruitment agency, compared to 73 per cent of white candidates.


Make sure you clearly and effectively promote your offer as a local employer of choice:

  • Explore opportunities to engage with a variety of diverse groups, for example faith communities, community centres and schools or colleges. 
  • Improve understanding of the breadth of NHS job roles across your community. Visit the NHS health careers website to find more resources to support you in this. 
  • Ensure your organisation's online presence is reflective of your staff diversity. Think about how your website portrays your organisation and whether it is reflective of the diversity you are aspiring to.
  • Showcase clearly your diversity strategies or policies on job applications, for example adding a diverse and inclusive workplace logo.


Things to consider when recruiting from this group:

  • Remove candidate names and the names of institutions they have studied at from applications prior to shortlisting, to avoid any unconscious bias.
  • Consider providing language assistance in completing application forms or an interpretation guide for jargon or acronyms.
  • Review any recruitment or assessment stages to ensure they do not disproportionately disadvantage anyone from a BAME group.
  • Consider hosting a recruitment day to let people see what the role will be like. East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) hosted a recruitment day, to give people an honest overview of what the service was like and to provide more information about the role.  At the end of the recruitment day, 89 per cent of attendees said that they would consider applying for a job with EMAS.
  • Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal to ask someone about their language abilities, religion or cultural background during an interview.


Things to consider to maintain an engaged and content BAME workforce:

  • Set up an ethnicity or religious group network (as suggested in the WRES Report).
  • Arrange mentoring for individuals, including BAME groups specifically.
  • Make reasonable adjustments for cultural and religious reasons, for example some religions require specific prayer times during the day.
Further reading
NHS England  The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) commissioned by NHS England, includes useful statistics and actions organisations can take to address race inequalities within their workforce.

Acas guidance on religion or belief and the workplace

This Acas guidance gives practical help in creating a fair working environment in which no one is put at a disadvantage because of religion or belief.
NHS Employers dress codes and discrimination web page Information from NHS Employers about what employers should consider in their dress code policies.
Ethnicity in the NHS infographic The NHS workforce infographic gives an overview of some of the key statistics about the diversity of the NHS workforce.

Find out more about other community groups you may want to engage with and recruit into your organisation. 

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