Over 120,000 Workers Quit Jobs Because of Racism, UK Study Suggests
- September, 01, 2022 - 16:01
- Other Media news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – More than 120,000 workers from minority ethnic backgrounds have quit their jobs in the UK because of racism, suggested a landmark study that has found workplace discrimination is sapping the confidence of a large part of the UK workforce.
More than 120,000 workers from minority ethnic backgrounds have quit their jobs because of racism, suggested a landmark study that has found workplace discrimination is sapping the confidence of a large part of the UK workforce.
More than one in four workers from black and other minority ethnic backgrounds have faced racist jokes at work in the last five years and 35% said it left them feeling less confident at work, according to what is believed to be the largest representative survey conducted of the UK’s 3.9 million minority ethnic workers. Eight percent of victims left their job as a result of the racism they experienced, according to the study by the Trades Union Congress, The Guardian reported.
“Many told us they experienced racist bullying, harassment – and worse,” stated the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady.
“And alarmingly, the vast majority did not report this to their employer … Ministers need to change the law so that employers are responsible for protecting their workers and preventing racism at work.”
One black Caribbean lecturer in the South-West of England told researchers, “I drive a nice car and one member of staff asked me if I was a drug dealer, because how else could I afford (it)?” When she reported the incident she was told “it’s because of the area of the country we live in, which is predominantly white”.
A British Indian woman from London, who was told she was overlooked for a job because the company didn’t want front-facing staff wearing “funny clothes”, said she had never reported a racist incident because she was afraid she would lose her job.
The survey found only 19% of those who had experienced harassment reported the most recent incident to their employer. Almost half feared it would not be taken seriously.
Dr Halima Begum, the chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, a race equality thinktank, noted the findings showed many employers lacked “accountable structures supporting employees to report racist incidents”.
“Without adequate action from employers the pervasiveness of racism mounts, and it’s this lack of accountability which tips any single accusation within a workplace from an individual ‘bad apple’ to an institutional problem.”
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which represents human resources professionals, said the 1,750-person survey was a “stark reminder that far too many black and minority ethnic workers still face discrimination in the workplace on a regular basis”. It added the findings should provide fresh impetus for the government to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay reporting.
Examples of racism given in focus groups ranged from children asking a teacher with a non-British accent where she is from, to people being told to “go back to your country”. Workers aged 18 to 24 were significantly more likely to say they had experienced racism than older workers.
“This data shows there is still a way to go in addressing racial and ethnic equality across society,” said Matthew Percival, the director for skills and inclusion at the Confederation of British Industry, which represents employers.
“Businesses must be doing all they can to build an inclusive workplace and tackle discrimination.”
The CBI is urging businesses to commit to ethnicity pay gap reporting and clear targets for improving representation at board and senior leadership levels.
A government spokesperson stated, “Our inclusive Britain action plan sets out plans to build a fairer and more inclusive society, including promoting fairness in the workplace and action to tackle the ethnicity pay gap.”