The global COVID-19 pandemic has shown the wider societal importance of reducing inequality. Our series of race inclusion reports outline the key areas employers can act on to improve inclusion and equality at work.

The reports, which are informed by CIPD research (conducted between 29 November 2019 and 10 January 2020), discuss the ways in which employers and the HR community can act to eliminate racism in the workplace. Employers are in a strong position to make an impact, through actions such as reducing discrimination, training line managers, establishing employee network groups, and building trust with people from all ethnic minority backgrounds.

Our series looks at three key areas that employers need to consider in order to make progress towards improving race inclusion and equality in the workplace:

  • talking about race at work

  • ethnicity disclosure and reporting

  • career progression inequalities

Executive summary report

The executive summary gives an overview of the key findings of each report, as well as presenting recommendations for employers and policy makers based on these findings.

Report 1 - Talking about race at work

The first report in the series focuses on the importance of having conversations about race at work, something that was highlighted by our research as a critical barrier and determinant of progress towards racial inclusion.

Report 2 - Encouraging ethnicity data disclosure

Report 2 looks at the impact of in-depth ethnicity disclosure and reporting. Collecting ethnicity data across an organisation helps employers understand their current position in relation to ethnic diversity. This knowledge can be used by employers to set realistic targets, prioritise their agendas and ultimately, monitor the impact of their diversity initiatives.

Most employees are comfortable disclosing their ethnicity to their employer

Read more details on page 12 of Report 2.

One third believe their employer would use employee ethnicity data to make positive change

Read more details on pages 13-14 in Report 2.

Report 3 - Ensuring equality of career progression opportunities

Finally, report 3 addresses career progression inequities related to race, identifying factors in the workplace that are enablers or barriers to progression. The report discusses a key finding of our survey, that 22% of the BAME group respondents said that their career progression has failed to meet their expectations because they have experienced discrimination compared with 15% of the white British ethnicity respondents. This suggests that employers need to act to reduce risks of discrimination in their career management processes and to build trust in these processes among employees of all ethnic groups.


  • Develop a comprehensive and well-resourced race inclusion strategy incorporating these three studied areas: conversations, data and career management. Integrate this with your wider HR, inclusion and diversity (I&D), and organisation business strategies. 

  • Collect, analyse and publish a framework of relevant ethnicity data and statistics across all the HR processes in your organisation.

  • Prepare for ethnicity pay gap reporting before it becomes mandatory and report voluntarily in advance if possible.

  • Develop an action plan for tackling any ethnicity-based disadvantage that your data exploration reveals.

  • Support senior leaders to lead the way in initiating positive conversations about race, to be clearly visible as part of the I&D strategy and to communicate the importance of race and ethnicity in the organisation.

  • Support line managers to manage their teams in a non-discriminatory and engaging fashion, support the career development of those who report to them and facilitate opportunities for project work and cross-organisational working.

  • Build a strong sense of belonging and involvement in the organisation, for example by establishing employee network groups to facilitate conversations about race and other diversity strands in a safe space.

  • Consult employees, possibly via employee network groups, on the most appropriate individual and collective terminology in relation to ethnicity.

  • Develop a communications and involvement strategy to communicate and celebrate diversity aims and achievements, to share the organisation’s diversity data and to explain the I&D strategy.

To explore the recommendations in more detail, see pages 7-8 in the Executive summary report.

Download the reports below:

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