Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report

BITC’s Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report, examines the progress being made against the recommendations of Race in the workplace: The McGregor-Smith Review.

Business in the Community’s (BITC) Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report, produced in partnership with YouGov, examines the progress being made across the employer landscape against the recommendations of Race in the workplace: The McGregor-Smith Review.

The McGregor-Smith Review’s six-point roadmap for success

Over 24,600 employees in the UK completed the Race at Work 2021 survey on which this report is based. It sets out the performance of UK plc (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) towards the six steps to success set out in the McGregor-Smith Review. Download the report for full details on how UK based organisations are progressing against these.

1. Gather data

Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report found there has been a significant improvement in the number of employers voluntarily capturing ethnicity data and pay gap data. This has increased from 11% in 2018 to 19% in 2021.

A key recommendation from the McGregor-Smith Review was for the government to implement mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. BITC and leading employers have been collaborating with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to produce guidance for employers to enable them to publish their ethnicity pay gaps, with narrative and action plans.

We are calling on more employers to publish their ethnicity pay gaps voluntarily and we are calling on the government to note this shift in business action and follow through on their promise and the consultation
results to implement mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.

Find out more about ethnicity pay gap reporting.

2. Take accountability

According to Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report there has been an 11% shift in the number of Executive Sponsors at the top table promoting equality, equity, fairness and inclusion. This has increased from 32% in 2015, 33% in 2018 to 44% in 2021.

We are calling on leaders to be inclusive, act as mentors, sponsors, allies and advocates of diverse talent and to be accountable for improved progression of diverse talent in the workplace.

3. Raise awareness: changing the culture

This year is showing the most significant movement of employees saying that their employers are comfortable talking about race. This has slowly been progressing from 37% in 2015, 38% in 2018 to 41% in 2021.

Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report also found less positive news with regards to performance indicators linked to bullying and harassment towards Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse employees by managers, colleagues, customers, clients, service users and contractors.

In 2021, 29% of Black and 27% of Asian employees say that they have witnessed or experienced bullying and harassment from their managers and 38% of Black, 29% of Asian and 27% of Mixed Race employees say that they have witnessed or experienced bullying and harassment from customers, clients and service users. Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse employees are twice as likely than White employees to have experienced or witnessed racist harassment from managers, customers/clients and colleagues.

Truly inclusive workplaces are free of bullying and harassment in all its forms. Government and employers must demonstrate through their words and actions that this will be stamped out, wherever it is found.

4. Examine recruitment

Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report found Black people from Caribbean (71%) and African (67%) backgrounds are more likely to use a recruitment agency, but less likely to believe that they are being treated fairly (34%). This has declined from 38% of Black people saying they believed they were being treated fairly in 2018. In contrast to this, White people are less likely to use a
recruitment agency (47%), but are more likely to believe that they are treated fairly (49%).

These disparities in the perception of ‘recruitment agency’ treatment by ethnic group have existed since 2015. The recruitment industry, employers and government need to tackle this head on to shift these marketplace perceptions.

5. Change processes: supporting progression

Based on the findings of Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report the desire for progression among Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse employees remains consistent from 2018 at 70% and in 2021 at 69% saying that career progression is important to them. Black African employees remain the most likely to say this (85%).

Employers must be inclusive about progression. This means setting targets to ensure that Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse employees progress at an accelerated rate to tackle the long-term disparities of representation at senior levels.

6. Government support: talent wars, retention strategies and enabling flexibility

Seven in ten (69%) employees from all backgrounds said ‘their organisation gives them freedom to work flexibly’, according to Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report. This has increased from 56% of White employees and 59% of Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse employees saying this in 2018.

This evidence indicates that demonstrating that you care about your employees’ mental health and wellbeing through freedom with remote, hybrid and flexible working, is set to become a competitive advantage for employers in the retention of talent.

The Race at Work Charter

One year after the McGregor-Smith Review, BITC published Race at Work 2018: The Scorecard Report. It looked at how UK employers were performing against the recommendations outlined in the review. The findings led BITC to create the Race at Work Charter. This is five calls to action for organisations committed to improving equality of opportunity in the workplace. In 2021 the Charter has expanded to add allyship and inclusive supply chain commitments.

We ask all organisations to sign the Race at Work Charter and make a commitment to improving quality of opportunity in the workplace.

About Business in the Community’s work on race

After 25 years of campaigning for race equality in the UK, BITC believes every employer must prioritise action on race.

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. They also inform our engagement with government, industry stakeholders and employers when campaigning for wider societal and organisational change.

Read more about BITC’s race campaign.