For Black Americans, discrimination in corporate spaces has been well-documented for years. From unequal pay to unfair treatment, navigating professional settings has been both triggering and inimical for those forced to surmount these hurdles. Though Blacks in the UK have experienced identical challenges, only recently has a major research study backed these experiences.

Last week, nonprofit think tank Coqual launched its new research study: Being Black in the United Kingdom. The release comes three years after its groundbreaking 2019 study, Being Black in Corporate America. The new, in-depth, intersectional research sheds light on the unfair treatment Black professionals experience in the UK, and the actions companies and their employees can take to promote greater fairness at work. As described in a press release, the report examines the factors that contribute to attrition and stall for Black employees in the UK. 

“For far too long, the voices and experiences of Black professionals have been ignored. This new report sheds light on these experiences while illustrating what’s at stake for companies that choose to ignore the bias and barriers Black employees face,” says Lanaya Irvin, Coqual’s CEO. “Our data and insights reveal that race is a salient and critical factor and provides ways for companies to make real, sustainable changes that will set the course and foundation for Black professionals to thrive in the workplace.”

The key findings from Coqual’s report are regrettable, yet telling. Black professionals are 81 percent more likely than white professionals to say their companies are “not at all” or only “slightly” fair. More than half—52 percent—of Black women and 46 percent of Black respondents overall intend to stay at their companies for just two years or less, compared to 34 percent of white professionals. Coqual also finds that Black professionals in the UK face a steeper climb than their colleagues recognize. More than three in four Black professionals surveyed say Black employees have to work harder to advance, while only 30 percent of white professionals, 42 percent of Asian professionals, and 52 percent of mixed-race professionals say the same.

“Black professionals in the UK are experiencing harsh daily realities,” says Julia Taylor Kennedy, Coqual’s Executive Vice President. “While many companies are having more conversations about race at work, they are not leading too much action—which can be incredibly dispiriting. In our study, we provide a framework for action.”

To help companies drive sustained, meaningful change, Coqual’s framework is geared toward real action in three overarching steps: Audit, Awaken, Act. The New York-based nonprofit says these steps will help companies advance their work in the DE&I space and build accountability throughout their ranks. 

“Now is the time to take our knowledge about inequity for Black professionals in the UK and turn it into a transformational action plan,” states the report. “Awareness is an important step, but unfair workplaces won’t fix themselves—we need to audit talent processes and policies, drive company-wide awakening to the reality of racism, and act in a way that holds leaders and colleagues accountable.”