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Anti-racist companies: a framework for action

November 18, 2022

Many have downplayed the existence of systemic racism around the business world, but Black professionals who experience daily microaggressions and barriers to advancement in the workplace know it exists. In some countries, higher unemployment, precarious occupations, underutilization and lower income are part of the many problems faced by Black men and women. 

A recent survey by the think tank Coqual shows that nearly half of black workers in the UK plan to leave their jobs in the near future, resenting the lack of fairness in the management of their companies:

  • 52% of Black women and 46% of Black respondents overall intend to stay at their companies for just two years or less, compared to 34% of White professionals. 
  • Regarding their aspirations, 63% of Black professionals surveyed say they are very or extremely ambitious – a higher percentage than any other racial group surveyed. 
  • Black professionals are 81% more likely than White professionals to say their companies are “not at all” or only “slightly” fair. 

“For far too long, the voices and experiences of Black professionals have been ignored.” said 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.”

In Brazil, where black people account for 55% of the total population, the coronavirus pandemic has accentuated the differences. According to the Intersyndical Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies, the number of people who lost jobs at the beginning of the health crisis was 8.8 million. Of these, 71.4% or 6.3 million were black: 40.4% were women, and 31% were men.

However, corporate initiatives such as the establishment of diversity goals and the awareness of leaders on the topic, in addition to the creation of committees and forums to discuss racial inequality in the workforce, have been slowly reverting the scenario. The hiring of black interns in Brazil grew 235% in the last four years. The data appears in research by Companhia de Estágios, an organization of recruitment and selection solutions.

To help companies drive sustained, meaningful change, Coqual has developed a framework for action in its report: 


“First, assess the current state. Company leaders need to understand the current state of the Black professional experience and what inequities exist in the way Black professionals are treated, hired, evaluated, promoted, and compensated.”


“Bring those insights to the rest of the organization through thoughtfully designed conversations and resources for the benefit of all employees. Leaders and employees alike need to have open discussions and educate themselves about the barriers Black professionals face.”


“With the knowledge and understanding developed in the Audit and Awaken phases, companies must build solutions that specifically target dismantling barriers for Black employees and establish accountability at all levels.”

Source: Coqual | Dieese | Valor Econômico