The Two Sides of Diversity No One Has Told You About [Interview with Dr Richard Norrie]

In this episode I am speaking with Dr Richard Norrie. Richard is a researcher at leading independent think tank Policy Exchange and the author of the “Two Sides of Diversity” report and the co-author of the influential “Bittersweet Success” report

Richard investigates immigration, integration and demography in society, these are topical subjects and I was excited to speak with him so that he could share the benefit of his considerable experience with us.

In today’s show we discuss several things including:

  • Richard’s research and why it matters to organisations
  • The truth about the apparent lack of minority talent in the workplace
  • The difference between the Rooney Rule and quotas and much much more

Here’s some of the wisdom that Richard shared:

The Growth of “Minority” Talent

Richard highlights the growth in the number of well educated, talented individuals from minority ethnic groups. This contradicts claims often made by organisations about the lack of talent available to be promoted to senior positions. Richard explains why this is not the case:

“Minority talent is passing through the system, towards the top we need to nudge things along”

The Immigrant Promise

Richard explains his use of the term “Immigrant Promise” and how it explains why particular ethnic groups tend to cluster around specific occupations.

“For most immigrants it’s the dream of a better life, some manage it more than others”

A Bespoke Approach to Diversity & Inclusion

Richard explains why organisations need to carefully consider their own circumstances, making use of best practices while avoiding poorly conceived duplication of popular initiatives.

“Every situation is unique, there are a lot of people out there who claim to have the answers but we don’t know if these things truly work, if they are applicable to every situation”

If you want a quick snapshot of what the episode is about I’ve created some slides that you may find interesting


Is using a Rooney Rule style shortlist appropriate for your organisation?

Show notes

Here are some selected links to for the resources and reports I discuss in the episode.

Policy Exchange


My PhD thesis

The Davies report

The McGregor Smith Review

The Parker Review

Bittersweet Success? Glass Ceilings for Britain’s Ethnic Minorities at the Top of Business and the Professions

The Two Sides of Diversity

The Equality Act (2010) Gender Pay Gap Information

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