Black professionals ‘twice as likely to be turned down for a pay rise’ says major study

Britain’s Black professionals are twice as likely to be turned down for a pay increase after negotiation than white people, a landmark study suggests.

Some 42 per cent have been refused a raise, compared to just 20 per cent of white professionals.

The figure appears in a report entitled Driving Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace from staffing organisation Robert Walters, which carries findings from a survey of 7,500 professionals across the UK and Ireland.

It was undertaken in the second half of 2020, following the George Floyd murder and Black Lives Matter marches.

Habiba Khatoon, director of Robert Walters, said the annual study is “one of the most significant pieces of research into diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

“This report specifically highlights the failures that come from a lack of effective inclusion, where company structure, culture, and/or policies negatively impact under-represented groups,” she told The Independent.

While many organisations have developed diversity policies “it remains the case that almost no protected characteristic – be it gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, or age – can be said to be properly represented in the workplace,” she added.

“This is an intersectional and complex matter – and the nuances of diversity and inclusion mean that some conversations are, in some respects, still in their infancy, with considerable room for progress.”

The study also found that white professionals are more likely to keep their jobs than those from ethnic minority groups, while half Black and Bangladeshi women claim career expectations are not being met by their employer — double the national average.

Black women have the highest dissatisfaction with pay, with over half (58 per cent) believe their salary is not accurate reflection of work they do.

When considering personal circumstances such as family and culture, it is women from an Asian background (34 per cent) who feel the least understood by their manager.

The study features contributions from major companies and best-practice case studies from the likes of Co-op and Manchester United.

Meera Raikundalia is the co-founder of the Black Young Professionals Network (BYP), which works with companies around diversity, also contributed to the report.

She told The Independent: “We don’t have to be defined by these numbers. There are solutions out there and organisations need to expand the parameters of where they’re searching and make a conscious effort to increase the talent pipeline.”

Racial disparities within the workplaces are often systemic, she added. “It’s entrenched and comes in from everywhere: education, visibility, hiring processes, mentors, the people around you.

“Then, if you’re lucky enough to make it into these good organisations, you’re faced with unconscious bias from hiring managers. The problem is deep-rooted and it’s hard to undo but we are doing it.”


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