The reasons why Black staff are quitting their jobs

Workplace discrimination is one reason why Black staff are leaving jobs

UK businesses must act to prevent more Black staff from quitting their jobs, while recruitment agencies need to become more inclusive of Black candidates, according to two hard-hitting reports.

Savanta’s Diversity & Inclusion report entitled ‘Black Lives Matter: Everywhere’ highlighted issues within the recruitment process that impacts workplace diversity, where 52% of respondents said their employer should expand recruitment to more diverse sources of applicants and, even worse, that almost half of Black employees in the UK have left a job due to lack of workplace diversity.

Aside from not feeling comfortable in non-diverse organisations, another report reveals other factors causing Black talent to leave their jobs.

According to BITC’s ‘Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report’ which was published this month, 29% of Black and 27% of Asian employees said that they have witnessed or experienced bullying and harassment from their managers, and 38% of Black, 29% of Asian and 27% of Mixed Race employees said they have witnessed or experienced bullying and harassment from customers, clients, and service users.

Discrimination, and lack of job satisfaction

As a result of these figures, it’s perhaps unsurprising that employees from the Black Caribbean group fall behind other groups on workplace enjoyment.

While there has been “a significant increase” in enjoyment from Chinese and Black Caribbean employees, which has risen in 2021 to 69%, from 57% and 58% respectively in 2018, they are still behind other groups such as those from Pakistani (76%) and Indian backgrounds (73%).

When it comes to feeling valued in an organisation, the good news is that most employees feel valued at work (73%) which has increased by seven points since 2018. However, white employees (75%) feel more valued in the workplace than their Black, Asian, and Mixed Race counterparts (71%).

Lower work enjoyment and feeling less valued among Black groups could be linked to the lack of workforce diversity where they feel they can’t be their authentic selves. However, the figures below detailing the lack of personal development opportunities could also explain why Black groups don’t feel as valued or enjoy their jobs as much as other groups.

Not enough support with career progression

The report also found that Black African employees are the most likely group to “desire a sponsor” (46%), yet only 15% have one. Furthermore, Black African employees are the most enthusiastic about mentoring at 54%.

While Black, Asian, Mixed Race, ethnically diverse, and white staff have similar feelings of encouragement for senior roles, the report found that white employees had the largest increase in this feeling from 2018.

The above figures prove that employers must give Black employees the provisions they desire or leave their jobs for positions that provide more support in line with their professional development goals.

The report recommends that employers “be inclusive about progression” and establish targets to ensure that Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse employees “progress at an accelerated rate to tackle the long-term disparities of representation at senior levels.”

The report also found a “potential correlation to people reporting increased flexibility, feeling more positive about their line managers, employees not feeling that they need to leave their organisation to progress and saying that their organisation is a good place to work.” This shows that flexible work conditions, including perhaps hybrid working models, flexible hours, and other adjustments, could help all workplace groups feel happier and more motivated in their job roles, and crucially wishing to stay.

Poor experiences with recruitment agencies

Black candidates are less likely to believe that they are receiving fair treatment from recruitment agencies. The report found that Black people from the Caribbean (71%) and African (67%) groups are more likely to use a recruitment agency but less likely to believe that they are being treated fairly (34%).

In fact, faith in equal treatment from recruitment agencies among these groups has declined by 4% since 2018 when 38% of Black people said they believed they were being treated fairly.

The contrast in perceptions of fair treatment among these groups is highlighted by the experience of white groups in the study, who are less likely to use a recruitment agency (47%) yet are more likely to believe
that they are treated fairly (49%), which has increased from 43% in 2018.

The fact that Black people from the Caribbean and African backgrounds are more likely to use recruitment agencies shows that recruiters must work to make the experience inclusive and remove any incidences of bias. Especially considering the rising number of job vacancies, recruitment agencies could play a real role in ensuring more diverse candidates gain positions in the thriving jobs economy.

Linnea Bywall, Head of People at digital hiring tool Alva Labs, has commented on the findings of the ‘Black Lives Matter: Everywhere’ report by Savanta: “This report is tough to read, but unfortunately, it comes as no surprise. Still, today, the opportunities on the job market are not even close to being fair and equal. Without exception, everyone deserves to feel both welcome and represented wherever they work. These statistics show the drastic effect a lack of workplace diversity can have on people of colour.

“The report also proves that traditional recruitment methods no longer work. Traditional processes give too much room to subjectivity and bias, failing to judge all candidates on objective grounds. Now is the time for employers to transform the way they hire and tear up the existing, archaic rulebook full of limitations and biases.

“Recruiting Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) for C-suite positions are essential to making employees at all levels feel represented and safe at work. Many businesses pay lip service to inclusive hiring processes, but, as these statistics show, people of colour still often feel marginalised once they’re hired.

“The recruitment process is the first but not the only step that needs to be addressed. The effort must then go beyond the hiring process and into making sure all workplace practices are entirely inclusive. Without such measures, any attempt to create an equal workforce will be an uphill battle.”

To read the Business in the Community’ Race At Work 2021: The Scorecard Report’, click here. Savanta’s ‘Black Lives Matter: Everywhere’ report can be read here.

In this article, you learned that:

  • Black people from Caribbean (71%) and African (67%) backgrounds are likely to use recruitment agencies, but less likely to feel they are being treated fairly.
  • A significant 29% of Black employees said that they have witnessed or experienced bullying and harassment from their managers.
  • In the workplace, Black African employees are most likely to “desire a sponsor” (46%), yet only 15% have one.

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