Black professionals are twice as likely to be turned down when asking for a pay rise than their white counterparts, according to a new study.
The findings were included in an in-depth white paper published by Robert Walters, which surveyed more than 7,500 workers year-on-year between 2019 and 2021.
The poll found that 42% of black professionals were refused a pay increase after negotiation, compared with 21% of white professionals. For black women, the situation was even worse – 63% were turned down when asking for more pay.
Further, even when they were successful in negotiating a pay rise, black professionals were less likely to get 75-100% of what they asked for, achieving this just 21% of the time, against 35% for white employees.
Black workers were also more likely to be deterred from even asking for more money, with 37% saying they hadn’t even tried, against 23% for their white peers.
Habiba Khatoon, Director at Robert Walters, said: “This report is one of the most significant pieces of research into diversity and inclusion in the workplace in the past two years, and specifically highlights the failures that come from a lack of effective inclusion – where company structure, culture, and/or policies negatively impact underrepresented groups.
“Whilst D&I has rightly been a prime concern for leadership teams, who now understand how critical an active D&I policy is for their organisation’s success, 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.”
The recruitment firm noted that the temporary hold on the government’s decision on whether or not to enforce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting was making it difficult to assess the exact state of play.
While ONS figures showed that in 2019 the gender pay gap between all minorities and white British workers had shrunk to just 2.3%, it noted that, “this simple comparison between white and ethnic minority groups does, however, mask a wide variety of experiences among different ethnic minorities”.
In fact, the Robert Walters report found that the top five ethnic groups most dissatisfied with their pay were all minorities.
Needs not being met
Pay wasn’t the only issue noted, however. Some 41% of black professionals also felt there were a lack of opportunities available to them, with 34% stating that no relevant training courses were on offer.
Three times the number of black, and two times the number of Asian professionals stated that lack of representation was holding them back, compared with their white peers. One-third of black professionals said their career expectations were not being met by their employer.
Meera Raikundalia, Co-Founder of the Black Young Professionals (BYP) Network, which contributed to the Robert Walters report, said: “The UK has an abundance of black and ethnic minority talent, however, it appears that they remain hugely under-represented in the workplace. When asked to name business leaders from an ethnic minority background, just 34% of respondents could recall even one role model, in comparison to 75% of white respondents.
“It is clear that you can’t become what you can’t see, and it is therefore key for organisations to consciously attract and showcase minority talent at the top of their organisation to show there is a clear path to success for minority candidates.”
Photo courtesy of Canva.com