Black and white workers differ on perceptions of workplace inequality: SHRM


Black and white workers differ on their perceptions of racial inequality in the workplace, according to a survey conducted in June by the Society for Human Resource Management.

It found that 35% of Black workers agree that discrimination based on race or ethnicity exists in their workplaces compared to only 7% of white workers.

Also, it found that 29% of white workers say their workplace is not doing enough to promote racial justice in the world, while more than 50% of Black workers say that is the case.

However, 38% of both Black and white workers say they don’t feel comfortable engaging in candid conversations about race at work.

The survey included a sample of 1,257 Americans, which included an oversample of Black respondents. It took place from June 11 through June 15.

“For years, the business community has invested in diversity. But diversity alone isn’t enough,” SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. said.

“While we have progressed in making that famous American promise of equality a reality, the journey is far from over — we need true equity and inclusion,” Taylor said. “And what gives me hope is that HR knows we must strike at the root of the problem — not with trainings and policies — but in and through workplace culture.”

A separate survey by Gartner found that only 12% of HR leaders believe their organization has been effective at increasing diversity representation. This survey included 113 HR leaders and took place in April.

“An April survey of heads of diversity, equity and inclusion found that 69% are prioritizing advancing underrepresented talent especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Lauren Romansky, managing VP in the Gartner HR practice. “While the intent is there, there is no two-hour training remedy for this challenge. Organizations need to assess their current systems and processes to mitigate bias and address organizational factors that prohibit equal opportunity for advancement.”