One in four BAME employees experience bullying and harassment despite most employers having zero-tolerance policy

The 2019 Race at Work Report published today by Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, shows that many UK businesses are increasingly starting to measure and monitor some of key indicators that mark progress towards racial equality.
However, the survey findings within the report showed that there is still a need for more action UK employers to improve working environments for black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) employees and there are still gaps that need to be addressed on pay, progression and tackling bullying and harassment.  
 
Nearly all (97 per cent) of employers have a clear zero-tolerance policy on racial harassment and bullying but fewer than half (45 per cent) have commissioned a review into bullying and harassment in the workplace. With one in four BAME employees in the UK still experiencing bullying and harassment, commitment from the top is needed to achieve change. 
 
Increasingly, employers are becoming more likely to monitor and record their ethnicity pay gaps with 63 per cent of employers monitoring ethnicity pay on a regular basis. However, fewer than half of these feel comfortable declaring these figures publicly (31 per cent). As companies have seen with gender pay gap reporting, publishing results with clear action plans is a key step to identifying areas for improvement and knowing what steps to take to bring this figure down.
 
The Race at Work Charter survey is the largest measure of its kind of responsible business in the UK with 108 companies. There are more than 32,000 ethnic minority employees in the UK management population represented in the survey. Of these 52 per cent were from the private sector, 40 per cent from the public sector and 8 per cent from the third sector. The results represent a UK workforce of more than 1.3 million people and a global workforce of 3.9 million people. 
 
The survey report not only measures the progress made and what needs to improve, but it also provides the support needed to companies to make change happen. It is not currently statistically representative of all UK business, but is indicative of key emerging trends that will be explored further with more participants in future.
 
The Race at Work survey report reveals that many businesses are setting targets and KPIs for racial diversity and inclusion but businesses need to be more transparent about where they currently stand and identify opportunities for further progress. While 50 per cent of employers are making sure that performance objectives of their board and senor team include action on race, only 21 per cent of managers have an objective to facilitate the development and progression of ethnic minority talent in their teams.
 
The survey marks one year since The Race at Work Charter was launched, which has amassed more than 190 signatories over the past year across all sectors. The Race at Work Charter is designed to foster a public commitment to improving outcomes of BAME employees in the workplace. It consists of five principles to ensure organisations address the barriers to BAME recruitment and progression. 
 
Organisations that sign up to the charter publicly commit to:
  • Appointing an executive sponsor for race
  • Capturing data and publicising progress
  • Ensuring zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  • Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  • Taking action that supports ethnic minority career progression.
Sandra Kerr CBE, race campaign director at BITC, said: 
 
“Employers are making progress within their organisations to ensure that they are truly the best places to work for employees from all backgrounds and ethnicities. For the first time, we now have a current picture of the challenges that need greater focus and where employers may need support. 
 
“In order to achieve a fairer workplace in the UK, we need to encourage all employers to hold themselves accountable and to be transparent about where they are and what direction they are headed. We can see this in the evolution of ethnicity pay gap reporting over the past few years where many employers are measuring their pay gaps and taking action, but half of those measuring their pay gaps are still hesitant to speak publicly about it. Similarly many are recognising the importance of a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment but our results show this needs to be matched with consistent action. 
 
“The goal for employers needs to be creating inclusive organisational cultures where people can feel valued for their contributions and where differences are acknowledged as strengths rather than something that holds them back. Measurement is such an important lever for change and targets must be set at every stage, from recruitment through to retention and progression at all levels.
 
“This important work must continue, and we are encouraging employers to go even further. One year on from the launch of the Race at Work Charter, we are calling on employers not only to sign up to the charter, but to encourage the key suppliers within their supply chains to sign up and take action.” 
 
Ends 
  
Media contact 
Cathy Beveridge, media and external affairs manager, BITC, Mobile: 07776181945 Email: cathy.beveridge@bitc.org.uk 
 
Notes to editors
The Race at Work Charter: One Year On 2019 report will be available from Wednesday 2 October on the BITC website at https://race.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/research-articles/race-work-charter-one-year-2019-report
 
About Business in the Community 
Business in the Community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.  
 
We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:  
  • develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow
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