Workplace inclusion campaigns nearly tripled since BLM protests, survey finds | Black Lives Matter Movement

The number of employers implementing new diversity and inclusion campaigns has almost tripled since the end of the Black Lives Matter protests, according to new research.

A total of 27% of ethnic minority workers said their employers had introduced new initiatives in the past 12 months in response to the global movement, according to an Opinium survey of 2,000 adults. This is an increase from 10% in 2020, the year the protests began after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in the US state of Minnesota.

The latest UK multicultural survey, carried out by the pollsters in partnership with advocacy organization Reboot, said nearly half (47%) of ethnic minority workers had seen their employer take action to tackle workplace issues. racism and diversity – up from 40% in 2020.

“We were interested in asking if the promises made by employers after George Floyd were just an example of performative activism or if we still see the action happening today, which is why we specifically asked if employers had taken action,” said Priya Minhas, the Multicultural Britain series’ lead researcher.

In 2020, 73% of people from ethnic minorities said they had experienced discrimination, but this year, for the first time since the Multicultural Britain series began in 2016, that figure fell to 64%. Minhas said it was difficult to tell whether this was a positive change following the global protests or because of people largely working from home and restrictions on socializing due to the pandemic.

“While there have been improvements in increased satisfaction with what employers are doing and more people feel that businesses and organizations are making a genuine effort to address racism, there is still room for improvement. work to be done and there clearly remain issues in the workplaces that need to be addressed,” she said.

The survey results show there have been positive changes in the workplace – somewhat allaying concerns that companies and businesses were only engaging in the fight against racism at the height of summer 2020.

Sereena Abbassi, an inclusion practitioner who has worked with organizations including Sony Music, the NHS and the English National Ballet, said there were encouraging signs the protests were a watershed moment.

She said: “In some cases there are companies and employers who have been very successful in their work and the catalyst seemed to be the murder of George Floyd for them to accelerate their work around diversity, inclusion and equity, but there are also others who have decided to take it very slow and do the job quietly, rather than showing up just for the optics.

Abbassi added that she has seen a continued appetite from businesses and organizations to want to work with her and that the protests have inspired people to change.

Of the clients Abbassi has worked with, she believes the training sessions and conversations have been successful in contributing to a more diverse and inclusive workspace.

She said: “More companies are considering affirmative action and organizations have developed initiatives such as mentoring programs to ensure junior staff are in touch with senior staff. After the protests, we saw a lot of anger from people of color, but also from white allies within organizations. »

Asked about survey results which showed people were having fewer conversations about race this year than in the summer of 2020, Abbassi said a possible reason for this was that there was a real feeling fatigue when discussing race, especially for ethnic minorities who bear the burden of educating white people in the workplace. She added that people may worry that conversations about race will lead them to say the wrong things and that it could cost them their jobs.

Lawrence Heming, deputy director of EY’s UK diversity and equity team, said the survey results showed it was important for people to understand how recent events such as the pandemic and protests of Black Lives Matter had affected things, positively or negatively, for ethnic minorities. .

Heming says that while the results showed some race-related issues were still prevalent and “we’re nowhere where I would say we need to be,” there were findings that suggested things were slowly changing.

He added: ‘More companies in the business sector are introducing initiatives and policies to tackle racism and more people are paying more attention to certain issues – this has had a positive impact, but it is important that places are still held accountable, today, for the commitments they made in 2020.”

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