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The Race at Work Charter Survey 2020 – Taking Action Against Workplace Racism

The Race Work Charter Survey 2020 – Taking Action Against Workplace Racism
02 June 2020 | Updated 26 August 2020

For business leaders and organisations throughout the UK, racism is a continuing issue in workplaces of all sizes and in all sectors.  

Taking practical steps to help black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) friends, colleagues and employees tackle these barriers is something that Business in the Community’s (BITC) Race at Work Charter seeks to do.

Over the past few months, there have been several protests in UK cities, with people marching in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Many are calling for permanent cultural change, both within the workplace and beyond.

The Race at Work Charter is once again working to facilitate this conversation and making sure companies are representative of British society today, through their 2020 survey and promoting direct calls to action.


“Twenty-five years on from the Business in the Community’s Race Equality campaign being launched, it is horrific to see the brutal killing of George Floyd. Leadership is critical to ensure timely action on issues as they arise. Employers across the UK and those with global organisations need to be sensitive to this being another negative impact on their BAME employees and their mental health and wellbeing during a time of high levels of stress and worry because of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.”

–Sandra Kerr CBE

Race Director, Business in the Community


The Scorecard Report


The 2018 survey was called “The Race at Work 2018: The Scorecard Report” and was sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with research conducted by YouGov. 

A quarter of BAME employees surveyed (25 per cent) witnessed or experienced racist harassment or bullying from managers in the last two years.

The results also highlighted a lack of opportunity for BAME people in the workplace and a strong desire for opportunities that are not being fulfilled. It also cited that the UK workplace remains uncomfortable talking about race:

“Employers need to create more opportunities to enable employees to do so. “Race at Work 2018: The Scorecard Report” highlights a need for inclusive leaders to demonstrate positive sponsorship behaviours in the workplace, engaging in mutual mentoring and ensuring fair assessment at appraisal.”


31 per cent of employers publish their ethnicity pay gap


In 2019, 188 companies took part in a survey on the Race at Work Charter. The findings outline the progress made, where improvements are needed, and support to help companies make change happen.

There were more than 32,000 ethnic minority employees in the UK management population represented in the 2019 survey. Here are just some of key stats taken from this research:


  • 84 per cent of employers have a senior Race Champion. However, only 41 per cent of employers have targets to increase the racial diversity of their boards and executive teams
  • 63 per cent of employers monitor data on pay and ethnicity. However, only 31 per cent of employers publish their ethnicity pay gap
  • 97 per cent of employers have a clear zero-tolerance policy on racial harassment and bullying. However, only 45 per cent of employers have commissioned a review into bullying and harassment in the workplace



What are the five Race at Work Charter calls to action?


  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


How to get involved in the Race at Work Charter Survey 2020


This year’s Race at Work Charter Survey has been updated to include four new questions on the actions employers are taking in response to coronavirus.

The survey is live until 31 July 2020, and can help your organisation measure and progress towards best practice.

You can find out more about contributing to the survey here. 

Picture: A group of people working at laptops, sitting on the floor. Image credit: Business in the Community​

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 June 2020


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