Workplace happiness ethnicity gap emerging

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An ethnicity gap is emerging when it comes to workplace happiness, according to a new report from WorkL.

Data from over 20,000 respondents revealed the worrying trend despite an overall marked increase in workplace happiness.

WorkL found that black women are the least likely to feel empowered to make a decision at work, while black men feel less trusted to make decisions, feel less happy at work and enjoy their job less than males of other ethnicities.

Additionally, black managers reported lower satisfaction with both their working environment and work hours and they do not feel that their views are heard at work, nor do they feel treated with respect.

They also have a less positive self-reported relationship with their line manager, unlike white managers who have a significantly better relationship with their line managers.

The data also revealed a pay gap among ethnicities, with white men and women happier with their pay than all other ethnicities.

Speaking to HR magazine, WorkL founder Mark Price said: “It’s vital that businesses take action to address the ethnicity gap we are seeing. Employers should be engaging their entire workforce on the issues of diversity and race and open up debate on it.

“Ask how they feel about their workforce – is it diverse enough? How well do managers liaise with all levels of staff, on every pay grade? We’ve found an issue with how happy people are with their pay and the solution to this is to pay equally and fairly. But also be transparent to employers about why they are paid what they are paid. Outlining reasons and jointly setting targets will help make the entire process more transparent.”


Further reading:

Taking positive action over ethnicity pay

Demand for D&I roles four times higher than those in HR

Ethnicity pay gap reports rise in 2020

BAME Britons say pandemic is exposing great social inequality in the UK


The overall average workplace happiness score has increased significantly since the pandemic, rising from 64% to 72%.

The organisation said this jump could be down to factors such as dropping the commute and being able to manage their own time and work in a comfortable space.

Asian and British Asian employees became happier than any other ethnicity over lockdown, scoring 69.7% for their overall happiness.

Hospitality was found to be the least happiest sector to work in this year, which WorkL said was unsurprising considering the impact lockdown restrictions continue to have on it. The healthcare sector saw a significantly increased average happiness score, and people working in technology were found to be the happiest.

“It’s clear that the UK quickly adapted to working from home and employers were agile in working to a new normal,” Price added.

“Employees have embraced flexible working – many of whom were asking their employers for this long before the pandemic came. Compared to the rest of the world the UK has relatively good infrastructure for people to work from home and dropping the commute has transformed many people’s lives for the better.”

The data used in the WorkL report is from the organisation's Workplace Happiness Test which more than 100,000 people will have taken by the end of this year.

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