UK has potential to lead as global racial and ethnic equality role model 

Organisations need to take action to address equality gaps

London, 17 January 2023

According to a report published today on addressing racial inequities in UK organisations, Mercer, a global leader in redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being, and a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), suggests the United Kingdom is in a strong position to address racial and ethnic inequality across workforces.

Mercer’s study of a representative sample of 70 organisations with a combined UK workforce of circa 65,000 employees and a global workforce of more than one million employees, found that almost three-quarters of the companies surveyed collect race and ethnicity data. While this may indicate our understanding of racial equality is stronger than ever before, in reality the data is not being used to its full effect, which may be hindering progress on racial and ethnic equality. However, Michelle Sequeira, Mercer’s UK and Europe Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consulting Leader believes the UK is only a few steps from understanding the equality gaps and addressing them.

“For employers in the UK, we know that collecting race and ethnicity data from employees is becoming business as usual,” said Ms Sequeira. “The question is, now what?”

“Our research indicates that seventy-two percent of employers collect race and ethnicity data, so we have the ability to be a role model to other nations. However, 76% of participating UK employers are not publishing this data, and only one in three is setting racial and ethnic representation or inclusion targets. Furthermore, only one in ten participating employers that collect this data, have a disclosure rate over 90%.”

“Sharing race and ethnicity data requires a certain level of trust from employees, and employers should be doing more with this important data to build this trust. To make a difference, employers must use the data entrusted to them effectively. The story may change as more employees share their data but starting now and demonstrating how you intend to use it, is an important trust building action.”

Sixty percent of employers surveyed agree that attracting and retaining racially and ethnically diverse employees is a challenge in their organisations. Achieving racial equality is not easy and according to Ms Sequeira, it only succeeds within an inclusive and equitable workplace.

“Racial equality is the goal; removing inequities is how companies will achieve this goal,” she added. “Racial equality in the workplace has historically focused on, and underachieved in, employing representative numbers of racially and ethnically diverse groups in senior, visible positions.”

“The reality is that achieving racial equality is about more than representation. It is about achieving equity in opportunity, experience, pay and benefits across the workforce. That requires businesses to commit to driving measurable change throughout the organisation to embed an inclusive culture.”

Mercer’s research further reinforces a perceived shortfall in commitments to improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within UK organisations in the form of dedicated resources. The research shows that thirty-eight percent of participating employers do not have a chief diversity officer or comparable role. The majority indicating they are not looking to hire one in the next 12 months. Twenty-nine percent of participating employers do not have any dedicated DEI roles.

“Often, DEI falls within the remit of a human resource director and with the ever-increasing priorities they may have, DEI might get pushed to the back burner,” said Ms Sequeira.

“Without dedicated resources driving the DEI agenda forward, we are concerned how committed organisations are to making sustainable and impactful progress on addressing equality gaps and ultimately, creating a genuinely inclusive workforce.”

“Mercer’s Global Talent Trends research demonstrated that belonging was one of the top three things that employees needed to thrive, and thriving employees are proven to have higher engagement, innovation, productivity and lower turnover."

“An inclusive company better understands the needs of their diverse clients, colleagues and communities and is better positioned to thrive.”



About Mercer

Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s approximately 25,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in 130 countries. Mercer is a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with 86,000 colleagues and annual revenue of over $20 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including MarshGuy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on LinkedIn and Twitter.


About Marsh McLennan

Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC) is the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. The Company’s 86,000 colleagues advise clients in 130 countries. With annual revenue of approximately $20 billion, Marsh McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment through four market-leading businesses. Marsh provides data-driven risk advisory services and insurance solutions to commercial and consumer clients. Guy Carpenter develops advanced risk, reinsurance and capital strategies that help clients grow profitably and pursue emerging opportunities. Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations redefine the world of work, reshape retirement and investment outcomes, and unlock health and well being for a changing workforce. Oliver Wyman serves as a critical strategic, economic and brand advisor to private sector and governmental clients. For more information, visit, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter or subscribe to BRINK.