Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Post author image. Annie Gosling
Sandra Kerr CBE, Race Equality Director at Business in the Community shares details of new regional analysis into people’s experiences of race in the workplace.
Sandra Kerr smiles at the camera

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Business in the Community (BITC) has published insight papers with a new analysis of the responses to the Race at Work 2021 survey, broken down by UK region.

Over 24,600 employees in the UK completed the Race at Work 2021 survey. BITC’s Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report, produced in partnership with YouGov, analysed the results on a national level. These 12 new insight papers compare the responses from each UK region overall, supported by Office for National Statistics (ONS) labour market information and Department for Education data.

BITC members can log into MyBITC to read the new Race at Work 2021 Survey Insights Papers.

What is interesting is that the national data shows strong indicators of trends common across the UK, but when you take a closer look at the data by location there is sometimes a different picture painted. For example, a significant change was reported regarding leaders being more visible on diversity, inclusion and fairness. According to the overall findings in the Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report, we have seen an overall shift from 33% of employees seeing a visible leader in 2018 to 44% in 2021. However, in North East England and London, 50% of employees within these regions said that there was a senior leader promoting diversity, inclusion and fairness at the top of their organisations. Much higher than the national figure of 44%.

The Race at Work Charter

In 2018 BITC launched the Race at Work Charter, five calls to action for organisations committed to improving equality of opportunity in the workplace. In 2021 the Charter was expanded to include allyship and inclusive supply chain commitments.

Some interesting analysis on the request for more allyship support is highlighted in London where the demand from White employees requesting further support with allyship is 34%. This is higher than in the UK overall where it is 26%. The request for more allyship support from Black, Asian, Mixed race and ethnically diverse people in London is very similar to the national picture, at 47% compared to 46% in the UK overall.

More than 840 employers have now signed the Race at Work Charter which represents more than 6 million employees working for those organisations.

One size does not fit all when it comes to inclusivity

These regional insight papers demonstrate that a one size fits all approach to assessing the impact of actions on employees is not the best approach. The intersection of ethnicity, socioeconomic background and location should also be considered.

These regional insight papers indicate that different nuances in responses to the Race at Work 2021 questions can be found by location. Employers must consider these nuances when reviewing their employee survey responses, access to training and opportunities and appraisal ratings as well as pay and rewards.

One of the key calls to action from the Race at Work 2021 Scorecard Report is for employers to increase transparency and accountability. This can be done by publishing ethnicity pay gaps. Organisations should also set and publish targets to improve progression, to senior executive and board level. Targets should be linked to pay and reward and leaders incentivised to act as sponsors and advocates to progress talent in the pipeline to the top table and at every level. Different voices and perspectives should be included around the key decision-making tables. These regional insight papers provide evidence that engaging employees by location should be a part of inclusive employer actions too.