• Friday, December 02, 2022


Half of Asian UK employees experience microaggressions at work, reveals survey

By: Pramod Thomas

A new research has revealed that around half of workers in UK from Chinese (49 per cent), Pakistani (51 per cent) and Bangladeshi (51 per cent) backgrounds had experienced microaggressions at work.

The study by Censuswide for Wates Group added that one third of employees from Indian (33 per cent) and Chinese (31 per cent) backgrounds have witnessed colleagues constantly confusing their ethnicity with another person of the same ethnicity. This figure rises to 43 per cent for British Pakistanis and 46 per cent for British Bangladeshis.

The survey of 5,000 people in the UK workforce, between 05 to 17 August, also revealed that just one third (36 per cent) of UK employees have spoken up when they have seen discrimination or exclusion of a minority colleague at work. Almost seven in 10 (67 per cent) of workers consider themselves an ‘ally’ to those with different identities.

According to the survey, only one third of people (37 per cent) had made efforts to educate themselves on the experience of minorities, dropping to 33 per cent among executives who play a strategic role. Also, 79 per cent had never advocated for new opportunities for those in a minority group at work.

As many as 70 per cent of respondents admitted they had never publicly given credit for ideas to a minority colleague, the research, which was conducted to mark National Inclusion Week, has revealed.

The study said that four in 10 UK workers have experienced microaggressions at work related to their identity. It rises to almost six in 10 for gay, lesbian (58 per cent) and bisexual (59%) employees and to 64 per cent for people from black Caribbean background.

Three in five respondents from black African (60 per cent) or Caribbean (59 per cent) backgrounds have seen colleagues mispronouncing a name because it is ‘too hard’ to say, while four in 10 (42 per cent) men from the LGBTQ+ community have witnessed someone telling a colleague that they don’t even ‘look’ gay.

“The disconnect between intent and action when it comes to tackling discrimination and microaggressions at work is worrying. We need employers across the UK to boost education and ensure that colleagues have an improved understanding of the experiences of underrepresented groups and what they can do be an effective ally,” said Nikunj Upadhyay, Inclusion and Diversity Director at Wates Group.

“At Wates, we are acutely conscious that our industry doesn’t reflect the diverse make-up of the society and communities we serve. If we are to create lasting change, we need to step up efforts to challenge social norms and create cultures that support everyone, inclusive of age, race, sexuality or background. That’s why we’ve asked all employees to make one allyship commitment this National Inclusion Week and why we are encouraging the wider business community to do the same.”

The study found that people from minority communities were also more likely to report witnessing microaggressions and discrimination.

“Almost half of those identifying as gay, lesbian (47 per cent) and bisexual (46 per cent) said they had seen instances of microaggressions and discrimination related to someone’s sexual orientation, dropping to 26 per cent overall. Similarly, while 62 per cent of people from a Black Caribbean and 47 per cent from a Pakistani background had witnessed microaggressions or discrimination related to race or ethnicity, this was only 35 per cent overall,” it added.

Established in 1897, Wates Group is a privately-owned construction, residential development, and property services businesses in the UK.

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