Call for Swindon firms to take part in UK’s largest ever Race at Work Survey

May 17, 2021

Swindon businesses are being urged to join hundreds of employers from across the UK by taking part in the country’s largest survey of race in the workplace.

Swindon-headquartered building society Nationwide and insurance group Zurich have already signed up to complete the survey, which is being staged by Business in the Community (BiTC), the organisation dedicated to responsible business. 

BiTC has held two previous Race at Work Surveys but, following a far higher awareness of the impact of racism on society over the past year, it  is seeking the highest number of responses so far for the 2021 version.

Nearly 700 firms have already committed to take part in the survey, which aims to capture the perceptions of UK employees to highlight indicators of racial bias and discrimination.

BiTC’s recent Black Voices report revealed that 33% of black employees feel their ethnicity will be a barrier to their next career move, compared to just 1% of white employees.

And following the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities government report, 11 members of BITC’s Race Equality Leadership Team wrote a private letter to the Prime Minister urging for ethnicity pay gap reporting to be made mandatory for employers.

As the largest survey of its kind, the Race at Work Survey is one of the most influential datasets on indicators of discrimination and bias at work.

Nearly 24,500 employees responded took part in the 2015 survey, which revealed significant and persistent gaps between employers’ policies and black, Asian and minority ethnic employees’ lived experiences. 

Some 30% of employees who had witnessed or experienced racial harassment or bullying from managers, colleagues, customers or suppliers reported that it had happened in the previous 12 months. Two years later, these revelations shaped the focus of the landmark McGregor-Smith-Review: Race in the Workplace.

The results of the 2018 survey, which attracted roughly the same number of employee responses, showed  that 52% of black, Asian and minority ethnic employees believed that they would have to leave their current organisation to progress in their career.

This led to the creation of the Race at Work Charter, which 681 companies – representing 5.5m employees – have now signed up to.

The 2021 Race at Work Survey will explore the experiences of employees to gather insight into the careers of all ethnicities.

It aims to capture ethnicity data, information surrounding career progression, effective allyship and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the ethnically diverse workforce.

The data will be used to determine the progress made since the 2018 survey,

BiTC said by completing the survey, respondents could be part of driving forward equality in the workplace and challenging racial bias and discrimination.

Reflecting an increase in awareness of race by employers, 423 have signed up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter since George Floyd’s death last year, bringing the total number of signatories to more than 681.

BiTC race director Sandra Kerr CBEpictured above, said: ‘Every response to this survey is a radical act: real change never comes from ignorance.

“Despite the insights from 2015 and 2018, it is shocking how little we still know about day-to-day experiences of ethnically diverse employees.

“The fact that Race at Work signatories have more than doubled over the last 10 months is extraordinary and I am optimistic that this surge of ambition from employers will translate into different experiences on the ground.”

The Race at Work Survey is sponsored by KPMG, the Co-operative, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Shell UK and Sainsbury’s and is carried out in collaboration with YouGov.

Click here to take part in the survey.

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