Executive Summary / Introduction
The report finds that:
Racism very much remains a persistent, if not routine and systematic, feature of work life in Britain, thus contributing to the organisation of society in ways that structurally disadvantage ethnic minority workers.
Experiencing and/or witnessing racism impacts on ethnic minority employees in a number of ways.
The promotion of equality, diversity and fairness is inconsistent across workplaces.
Some managers were said to have taken a zero-tolerance approach to racism in the workplace, offering support to those on the receiving end of racism. However, it was more common for ethnic minority employees to state that managers were also one of the main culprits when it came to racism at work.
Trade union representatives were identified as being an important source of support in helping ethnic minority workers to ‘speak out’ and challenge racism at work.
Many employees commended equality and diversity practitioners for the role that they played in promoting equality, diversity and fairness and supporting colleagues who had experienced and/or witnessed racism.
Alongside racism, White resentment is a significant problem.
It is important that we critically examine what equality and diversity work actually does, including identifying the barriers and obstacles that hinder this work.
This report, “Equality, Diversity and Racism in the workplace: A qualitative analysis of the 2015 Race at Work Survey”, is a thematic review by the University of Manchester of more than 5,000 comments on racial bullying and harassment and senior leadership received as part of the Race at Work survey in 2015. The report draws attention to the nature, scale, impact and persistence of racism in the workplace.
When we published our Race at Work report in 2015 we chose not to share the shocking and saddening comments shared by respondents – more than 2,000 on racial bullying and harassment and more than 3,000 on senior leadership – as we wanted to take the time to undertake a robust analysis. We are grateful for the support of Dr Stephen Ashe and Professor James Nazroo from the University of Manchester’s Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) for conducting this review of more than 5,000 comments. All data was collected by YouGov as part of the Race at Work survey in 2015.
The University of Manchester has outlined specific recommendations for government and for employers to ensure that ethnic minorities in the UK workplaces do not experience racist behaviour from colleagues, managers, customers, clients and service users in their daily working lives.