New research finds that Black and minority professionals are found to be disadvantaged in their career in terms of salaries and job opportunities. 

A new report from recruiter Robert Walters reveals the issues being faced by minority professionals, including low success rates when attempting to negotiate salaries.

The report showed that almost half of Black professionals (42 per cent) do not receive a pay increase after negotiation which is double the number of white professionals who face the same situation.

Black women were even less likely to receive pay increases following salary negotiation, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) failing to secure a higher salary.

In addition to this, over a third of Black professionals (37 per cent) reported feeling deterred from attempting to negotiate their salary in the first instance, compared to under a quarter of white workers (23 per cent).

Certain ethnic minority workers, including Bangladeshi and Pakistani professionals, were found to be unaware of how to negotiate pay increases when compared to counterparts from other ethnicities, the report showed. This was attributed to a lack of confidence and negative relationships with their managers.

Workers from these backgrounds were also shown to be the most unhappy with their pay. Almost half of Bangladeshi (46 per cent) and Pakistani workers (40 per cent) surveyed stated that they were dissatisfied with their remuneration.

Nic Hammarling, Partner & Diversity & Inclusion specialist at Pearn Kandola, stated that “both Covid-19 and lockdown have had some serious D&I implications at both a macro & societal level”. In particular, Dr. Hammarling flagged the long term hiatus following the consultation on ethnic pay reporting as having a “profound impact on not just how businesses behave but society too”.

However, the problems for BME (Black, minority ethnic) employees extended beyond salaries.

Over two-fifths of Black professionals (41 per cent) stated that there is a distinct lack of opportunities made available to them with 34 per cent stating that no relevant training courses are on offer.

Lack of representation was also flagged as a significant issue across ethnic groups as three times the number of Black, and two times the number of Asian professionals, stated that lack of representation holds them back. As a result, a third of Black professionals state that their career expectations are not being met by their employer.

Resultingly, almost half of Black women felt that not everyone has a fair chance at succeeding within their organisation. A further third stated they actively distrust their management and senior leadership to ‘do what is right’ for them.

Meera Raikundalia, Co-Founder of BYP Network comments:

The UK has an abundance of black and ethnic minority talent; however, it appears that they remain hugely under-represented in the workplace. When asked to name business leaders from an ethnic minority background, just 34 per cent of respondents could recall even one role model, in comparison to 75 per cent of white respondents.

It is clear that you can’t become what you can’t see, and it is therefore key for organisations to consciously attract and showcase minority talent at the top of their organisation to show there is a clear path to success for minority candidates.

*This research was taken from Robert Walters’ report ‘Driving Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace Strategy Report which surveyed 7,500 UK professionals.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.