Achieving racial equality is more than representation

To drive change and overcome racial inequities, organisations must make decisions using data-driven insights, set measurable goals, engage all leaders and instil a culture that values diversity. With the UK in a strong position to address racial and ethnic equality, we have the ability to collect this data and be a role model to other nations.

 

We have conducted new research to better understand how UK organisations are addressing racial equality and aim to uncover the causes of workplace inequities, identifying which behaviours are helping to close these gaps and those which may be worsening the problems.

 

With the majority (72%) of participating UK employers collecting race and ethnicity data, it may seem that our understanding of racial equality in the UK is stronger than ever before. In reality, data collection is just the first part of the story, the real question is whether we are using it effectively to drive real change?

Key employer trends revealed the following for UK organisations:


 

72% are collecting race and ethnicity data from employees


 

1 in 3 set race and ethnicity aspirations or targets


 

84% of employees self-identify as white within participating UK organisations




To make a difference, employers must use the data entrusted to them effectively

Racial equality in the workplace has historically focused on - and underachieved in - employing representative numbers of racially and ethnically diverse groups in senior, visible positions. The reality is that achieving racial equality is about more than representation. It is about achieving equity in opportunity, experience, pay and benefits across the workforce. And that requires businesses to commit to driving measurable change throughout the organisation to embed an inclusive culture.

 

 

We have identified five must-do actions for organisations:

1 Conduct deeper analysis into the root causes of inequality.
2 Give all employees a chance to be heard.
3 Engage and empower your leaders and mid-managers to be role models.
4 Publish your multi-year DEI strategy, and provide progress updates.
5 Define metrics linked to rewards to create accountability over time.

This report captures employers’ priorities and the actions they’re taking to uncover the root causes of workplace inequities for racially and ethnically diverse employees in the UK. We aim to identify which specific actions, policies and behaviours are helping to close these gaps and which may be exacerbating the problem. To explore the full findings, download a copy of the report.

 


About the survey

Mercer’s Overcoming Racial Inequities in UK Organisations Survey captures employers’ priorities and the actions they’re taking to uncover the root causes of workplace inequities for racially and ethnically diverse employees in the UK. A representative sample of more than 70 employers participated in the survey, with a combined UK workforce of just under 65,000 employees and a combined global workforce of more than one million employees.


The survey was carried out in August 2022 to analyse the actions of UK employers over the past 12 months.



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Racial equality in workplaces has historically focused on employing representative numbers of racially and ethnically diverse groups in senior, visible positions.
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Our experts

Michelle Sequeira




Michelle Sequeira

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consulting Leader, UK & Europe
Mercer

Michelle works with organisations globally as a senior DEI strategist to advance their DEI outcomes and achieve a talent advantage through people, evidenced-based approaches and the support of a broad range of ongoing implementation and change management activities.

Lucy Brown



Lucy Brown

Senior DEI Consultant, and Global Pride Co-Chair
Mercer

Lucy helps to accelerate an organisation’s DEI strategy, and in particular, has expertise in designing inclusive practices for neuro-divergent employees, LGBT+ employees and employees experiencing menopause or menopause-like symptoms.




Download the report