Two-thirds of employees do not challenge discrimination at work, despite 67% considering themselves an ‘ally’ to those from underrepresented groups.
This is according to a survey of over 5,000 employees commissioned by construction and property development firm Wates Group, which found that ‘allyship’ and support for colleagues with differing characteristics was not translating into action to tackle discrimination.
Just 36% have spoken up about discrimination or exclusion when they have witnessed it at work.
Seventy percent have never publicly given credit to a minority colleague for their ideas and 79% have never advocated for new opportunities for those in an underrepresented group.
Most employees have also not been educated on the experiences of those from minority groups. Only 37% had taken the time to educate themselves, falling to 33% among the C-suite.
Asked about the discrimination they have been subjected to, four in 10 people have experienced microagressions related to their identity, rising to almost six in 10 for gay, lesbian and bisexual colleagues.
Challenging discrimination at work
Sixty-two per cent of Black Carribbean and 47% of Pakistani employees had witnessed microaggressions or discrimination related to somebody’s race or ethnicity
Sixty per cent of Black African and Carribbean workers have heard colleagues mispronouncing somebody’s name because they claimed it is “too hard” to say.
Nikunj Upadhyay, inclusion and diversity director at Wates Group, said that employers should focus on educating their workforce to ensure all staff understand the discrimination that underrepresented groups often face at work.
“The disconnect between intent and action when it comes to tackling discrimination and microaggressions at work is worrying. We need employers across the UK to boost education and ensure that colleagues have an improved understanding of the experiences of underrepresented groups and what they can do be an effective ally,” she said.
“At Wates, we are acutely conscious that our industry doesn’t reflect the diverse make-up of the society and communities we serve. If we are to create lasting change, we need to step up efforts to challenge social norms and create cultures that support everyone, inclusive of age, race, sexuality or background. That’s why we’ve asked all employees to make one allyship commitment this National Inclusion Week and why we are encouraging the wider business community to do the same.”
Wates has committed to sharing data relating to the diversity of its workforce. Less than 15% of the UK construction workforce is represented by women, while just 3.4% of all construction managers are from ethnic minority groups.