Collecting ethnicity data across an organisation, at different levels of seniority, in different functions, and in different HR processes such as recruitment and promotion, is a means for people professionals to understand, assess and measure the diversity of their organisation. Ethnicity data collection will highlight where changes of practice and policy are required and help organisations to set realistic ambitions and targets and to monitor the impact of their diversity initiatives by tracking the changes over time. This report focuses on ethnicity disclosure, the current barriers, the key issues and how these are being overcome, taking into account employee attitudes and beliefs around ethnicity data and its disclosure. 

This report is the second of a three-part series, which outlines some of the key areas employers can act on with regard to race inclusion in the workplace. 

 Key findings 

  • Nearly half (47%) of employees have been asked to disclose their ethnicity. 

  • Employees are most likely to be asked to disclose their ethnicity during the application process (44%) or on joining the organisation (21%). 

  • A substantial majority of employees (84%) are comfortable disclosing their ethnicity to their employer, with only 10% saying they are uncomfortable with it. 

  • Thirty-two per cent agreed that their employer would use the data to make positive changes in their organisation, 30% agreed that their employer would say they’re acting on inequalities but with no change evident, and 30% agreed that their employer wouldn’t do anything with the data. 

  • Sixty-two per cent of respondents said they agree that they’d want to know why their employer wanted to know their ethnic background and this is even higher for wanting to know how information about people’s ethnic background would be used (72%). 

  • The majority (61%) of those who said their employer had tried to get more people to disclose their ethnicity in the last year also said that their employer had made it clear why this information is wanted. 

  • To encourage disclosure employers should give a clear explanation of how the data would be used, assurances of confidentiality, visible evidence of the organisation’s dedication to creating a fairer and more inclusive organisation and have senior leaders showing their commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion.  

  • Although a great majority are happy to disclose their ethnicity, a substantial number are sceptical and don’t believe any positive change will happen as a result. 

Race inclusion report | Encouraging ethnicity data disclosure

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In this series


Race inclusion report: Talking about race at work

We look at the need to talk about race at work and the barriers and facilitators of these conversations 


Race inclusion report: Equality of career progression

We look at factors which could be enablers or barriers to progression in the workplace 

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