George Floyd – three years on
2020. The pandemic. We all experienced it. George Floyd’s murder. We all saw it. Protests erupted around the world, Black and White people were on the streets together in protest, saying ‘Enough, it is time for change!’.
Now, three years later, we find ourselves reflecting on the progress made since George Floyd’s death.
I am still saying what I said then. We must continue to prioritise leadership, allyship, engagement and, most of all, include our Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse employees around the decision-making table.
More than 900 employers have made a public commitment to workplace race inclusion
Business in the Community’s (BITC) Race at Work Charter, established in 2018, now has almost one thousand employers who employ 6.2 million people in the UK. These employers explicitly state they are committed to race inclusion in the workplace.
You can take action today
Leaders set the tone from the top. Create opportunities to engage and listen to your employees. Be transparent on the current picture and share vision, goals, and aspirations for the future.
Allies, be engaged. Be consistent. We need allies to continue to inform and educate themselves and use their platforms and positions of influence and power to speak up when they see behaviour and employer practice that is biased or unfair.
You must engage with Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse employees. Invite them to sit at the curation, design, and decision-making tables. Be curious and inquisitive with research and get insight into new perspectives.
Everyone would love to “be themselves” at work. In the Race at Work 2021 survey results, we found that only 66% of Black employees feel they can be themselves at work, while 77% of White British employees, 75% of Mixed-Race employees and 71% of Asian employees feel this.
48% of white British employees said that progression is important to them, and 47% had been encouraged to acquire the skills needed for more senior roles. Is it reasonable to say that if a White British employee expresses a desire to progress, they will get the support and encouragement needed to gain new skills for more senior roles? And rightly so. The evidence indicates only 1% difference between saying that you want progression and getting help to acquire those skills. This is positive, but why does this matter? Because we need a highly skilled workforce now and for the future. However, 72% of employees from a Black background in the UK say progression is important to them, but only 43% say they have been encouraged to acquire the skills they need for more senior roles. This indicates that there is a gap of 29% in encouragement to acquire new skills for employees from a Black ethnic background.
Acquiring new skills and progression are often linked to an increase in pay. Increasing pay transparency with ethnicity pay gap reporting is important in the current cost of living crisis. Only 44% of Black and Asian employees feel they are paid the right amount. And when it comes to feeling underpaid, 47% of employees from Asian backgrounds, 46% of employees from Black backgrounds and 41% of White and Mixed-Race employees believe this.
Employers who have begun to capture their ethnicity pay data often find pay disparities for Black employees in their organisations, and we encourage them to put plans in place to address disparities.
Executive sponsors – demonstrate your commitment
I am asking the Executive Sponsors for Race inclusion with a seat at the top table in their organisations to join almost 1000 employers and sign the Race at Work Charter:
- Capture ethnicity data and use the government guidance to publish your ethnicity pay gap reports and co-create action plans with your employees to tackle the disparities. The BITC Regional Insights on Race factsheets can help you to identify the representation by ethnic group in England and Wales.
- Convene conversations with your employees and networks so that everyone feels like they belong in the workplace and can be themselves.
- Complete the Race at Work Charter Survey before the 16th June deadline, demonstrating your commitment to leadership, transparency and accountability.