‘Black women less likely to get a pay rise’

A new report shows how black professionals, particularly black women, are disadvantaged when it comes to pay negotiations and career progression.

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Nearly two thirds of black women do not receive a pay increase after salary negotiation, according to a new report.

The report from recruiter Robert Walters, Driving Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace, is based on a year on year survey of over 7,500 professionals between 2019 and 2021 and shows 42% of black workers generally don’t get a pay increase after negotiation, double the number of white professionals, and that black professionals have the lowest success rate of receiving 75-100% of their requested pay rise. This compares with over a third of white professionals (35%) who received 75-100% of their requested pay increase.

Robert Walters says the lack of a decision on whether to bring in mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting has made it difficult to know what the gap is. The report shows the top five ethnic groups most dissatisfied with pay are all minorities, with Black African and Black Caribbean workers the most dissatisfied. Black women were more likely than black men to be dissatisfied.

The report also showed four times the number of Bangladeshi/Pakistani professionals are not aware of how to negotiate pay increases when compared to counterparts from other ethnicities and cite confidence and relationships with their manager as the leading reasons for this.

When it comes to career progression, 41% of black professionals claim that there is a distinct lack of opportunities made available to them, with 34% stating that no relevant training courses are on offer.

Three times the number of black and two times the number of Asian professionals state that lack of representation holds them back (compared to white professionals). One in three black professionals state that their career expectations are not being met by their employer.

Over a third of black professionals (34%) say they actively distrust their management and senior leadership to ‘do what is right’ for them. A further 28% of black workers feel that their voice continues to be the least valued within their organisation.

Meera Raikundalia, Co-Founder of BYP Network, says: “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.”

The report found that black women are twice as likely as white women to experience negative scenarios or have negative feelings towards the general workplace:

  • 1/3 of black women feel that it is not easy to access the resources or facilities offered by their employer
  • Almost half of black women feel that not everyone has a fair chance of success at their organisation
  • 53% of black women do not trust their business leaders to stand up for what is right.

Moreover, when it comes to personal circumstances such as family and culture – it is women from an Asian background (34%) who feel the least understood by their manager – compared to a quarter of white women who feel the same.

The report does, however, show that there has been some progress when it comes to engaging white workers in employer-led diversity initiatives. The number of white professionals taking part almost doubled in the last year, up from 11% in 2019 to 18% a year later. And the number who say they do not intend to get involved in D & I initiatives has fallen from 42% in 2019 to 31% in 2020.

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