Qualitative analysis of BITC’s Race at Work (RaW) Survey

  • Cornelius, Nelarine (Principal investigator)
  • Umeh, Chidozie (Co-investigator)
  • Khan, Benish (Co-investigator)
  • Marks, Sarah (Co-investigator)
  • Mouelhi, Rym (Co-investigator)

Project: Other project (funded)Consultancy and other services

Project Details


The BITC Race at Work Survey is a pioneering, large-scale study into the experiences of employees in the workplace across every demographic group within the UK census. It aims to gather fresh new insights into the experiences of ethnically diverse people in the UK workforce, with a focus on capturing ethnicity data, progression and effective allyship.

The original landmark Race at Work survey was carried out in 2015 funded by BT, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, KPMG, Nationwide and Sainsbury’s. This survey attracted 24,457 responses and more than 5,000 entries to the survey’s open-ended questions linked to bullying and harassment and leadership, thus making it the largest ever survey of its kind at the time.
These comments were brought to life through a thematic review carried out by Dr Stephen Ashe and Professor James Nazroo from The University of Manchester in 2016. Their report draws attention to a range of issues, including health, wellbeing, and career progression. The report was launched at an All-Party Parliamentary Group event on Race and Community with MPs, government policy makers, EHRC officials and senior leaders from private sector organisations at the House of Commons on 31 January 2017. One of the key recommendations from the report which attracted all party support was the scrapping of tribunal fees. These fees were later abolished on 27 July 2017. The thematic review which Dr Stephen Ashe led was also converted into a series of alternative learning materials, such as short films and graphic novels which are available for free in the public domain. These resources are available on the Centre of the Dynamics of Ethnicity website.
Following on from this work, the government sponsored the 2018 Race at Work survey, which was one year on from the McGregor-Smith-Review into Race in the Workplace. Again, the survey in collaboration with YouGov garnered 24,310 responses and more than 17,000 written responses to the survey’s open-ended questions. The evidence from this survey has resulted in the launch of the Race at Work Charter which currently has more than 700 employer signatories.
In 2021, the survey received 24, 638 responses with a total of 24,950 comments.

These comments have never been reviewed. A thematic review of the 2021 RAW survey provides a unique opportunity to review the comments from 2018 and identify trends emerging in 2021.

BITC, Qeen Mary University of London and the University of Birmingham will therefore engage with:

Developing a statistically robust quantitative and in-depth qualitative analyses of Business in the Community’s (BITC) Race at Work surveys, with a focus on leadership & governance, the impact of COVID-19 on fuelling workplace disparities, being overlooked for promotion, bullying & harassment and allyship;
Effective start/end date1/03/2231/10/22