After 25 years of campaigning for Race Equality in the UK, Business in the Community (BITC) believes every employer must prioritise action on race.

There are two key actions leaders can take today to amplify your commitment to improving equality of opportunity in the workplace.


All organisations want to recruit from the widest pool of talent and help them progress. It is key to future productivity and performance. The Cabinet Office’s Ethnicity facts and figures website and the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Survey highlight that ethnic minority staff still encounter significant disparities in employment and progression. The government sponsored McGregor-Smith review found that greater progress and positive outcomes are needed to ensure all organisations benefit from the wealth of diverse talent on offer.

  1. Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race
    Executive Sponsors for race provide visible leadership on race and ethnicity in their organisation and can drive actions such as setting targets for ethnic minority representation, briefing recruitment agencies and supporting mentoring and sponsorship.
  2. Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress
    Capturing ethnicity data is important for establishing a baseline and measuring progress. It is a crucial step towards an organisation reporting on ethnicity pay differentials.
  3. Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
    The Race at Work Survey revealed that 25 per cent of ethnic minority employees reported that they had witnessed or experienced racial harassment or bullying from managers. Commitment from the top is needed to achieve change.
  4. Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers
    Actions can include ensuring that performance objectives for leaders and managers cover their responsibilities to support fairness for all staff.
  5. Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression
    Actions can include embedding mentoring, reverse mentoring and sponsorship in their organisations.

    * Please note it is not a requirement to complete the Race at Work survey before signing the Race at Work Charter.


The BITC Race at Work 2018 Scorecard Report, in collaboration with YouGov, found that employees said only 11% of employers were currently capturing ethnicity and pay data. Without this important indicator, businesses will not be able to diagnose and take action to  deal with their ethnicity pay gaps.

Download our toolkit – Monitoring ethnicity: A comprehensive guide for employers


Key facts

  • Race equality in the UK will potentially bring a £24 billion per year boost to the UK economy – 1.3 per cent GDP –  that is £481 million a week1.
  • Organisations with more diverse teams have 36 per cent better financial returns2.
  • Only one in 16 people at senior levels in the private and public sector are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background3.
  • Only 33 per cent of employees stated that they have a senior-level champion for diversity and inclusion in their workplaces4​.

Supporting employers to ensure that ethnic minority employees are represented at all levels. These aims and issue areas enable us to provide the most relevant and insightful support to members and inform our engagement with government, industry stakeholders and employers when campaigning for wider societal and organisational change.

Our objectives

To encourage leadership, allyship and connections

Racism happens every day, and we need advocates and allies that are prepared to take action at all times, not just when violence reaches the media and brings it to the front of our minds. People in every workplace need to learn about their role in ensuring their company is a safe, inclusive place for all kinds of people to work. This can be done through education, examining biases, and becoming a bystander that can intervene when racism occurs at work. Organisational culture has an important role to play when we consider what behaviours are allowed, what behaviours are encouraged, and what behaviours are forbidden.

To encourage business to take strategic action on leadership
Our research shows:

Leaders and executive sponsors should encourage their employees to declare their ethnicity, set targets for representation and publish and pay data by ethnic group 1

Leaders should engage in reverse mentoring. 2

The executive team and board members should make a personal commitment to bring the issue of race equality to the top table within their organisation and to the attention of their peers. 3

To promote mentoring and sponsorship

Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) people value mentors more than other ethnic groups. They are more likely to want a mentor and more likely to value the impact of having one. They also have a greater desire to expand their personal networks.

We need leaders to act as active sponsors, using their influence to mention the names of the BAME people when development or progression opportunities are being discussed – especially when there are no people from BAME backgrounds in the room during these conversations.

To champion progression for BAME people

Taking part in a fast-track programme is significantly higher among black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) groups, jumping from 20 percent of white employees who would take part to 43 percent of BAME employees6.

One in eight of the UK working-age population is from a BAME background4

Only one in 13 people at management levels in the private and public sector are from a BAME background4.

Race and the responsible digital business agenda

Our Brave New World report showed there is aconsiderable gap in the representation of technical roles with digital technologies positioning society at a cross-roads towards greater equality.

There is a risk that an accelerating pace of development will further exclude groups already facing considerable barriers to employment and social mobility. Digital technologies do though offer democratisation of access. People can teach themselves skills that are in high demand for free without the need for formal education. Although face-recognition technologies and other AI have been shown to often struggle recognising non-white faces, given the biased data they were trained on, they can offer companies the opportunity to reduce human bias in their recruitment process.

Business in the Community’s Responsible Digital Business programme works
with organisations to ensure that this digital transformation is ethical, sustainable and inclusive and that their innovations are developed in recognition of these challenges.




How Business in the Community is working to create a
skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow


1,2,3,5,6, Race at Work Report 2015
Available on request

4 Race At The Top 2014
Available on request