In the modern workplace, racism is widespread, subtle and often ignored. This is a statement that many people may question, however this report provides a solid basis of evidence for these claims. Our survey gained insight into 1,500 people’s experiences of racism in the modern UK workplace. The motivation for this research arose from a workplace climate in which racism still exists, but isn’t recognised. It is a common misconception that racism is limited to acts of verbal and physical abuse, meaning that when these explicit behaviours aren’t present, the majority group may assume that all races are treated equally at work. We wanted to find out if people were still experiencing racism at work, and if they were, what exactly were they experiencing and what was being done about it?
All data was gathered through a survey which was distributed to people using a variety of online platforms. More information on the method and analysis can be found in the appendix section of the report.
The present research revealed that 60% of Black people, 42% Asian people and 14% white people have experienced racism in the workplace. Of the people who had experienced racism, 20% had experienced verbal or physical racial abuse. We also explored how people define racism; when selecting from a range of scenarios, less than half of people could detect subtle racism. There were no racial differences in how well people were able to detect racism. A key issue was how people responded when they witnessed racism. When people confronted the perpetrator they were most likely to feel they’d resolved the situation. However, the most common response was to take no action. Furthermore, the most common reason for not taking action was fear of the consequences, something that minorities were most concerned about.