The recent heightened focus on racial equity in the US has illuminated an array of longstanding disparities facing the Black community in the workplace. Traditionally, the focus on racial equity in work has largely homed in on unemployment rates and representation in higher-level positions. The real disparities, however, run deeper and broader, and they are often underpinned by unseen connections.

Stepping up for equity

Stepping Up for Equity: How employers can close the career, health and wealth gaps faced by Black American workers examines the actions employers are taking to advance equity — and provides actionable guidance on helping Black employees thrive.

Building more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces

Dan Glaser, President & CEO of Marsh McLennan, and Martine Ferland, President & CEO of Mercer, discuss how organizations can step up their efforts to close career, health and wealth gaps affecting Black employees.

Channeling energy into action

Based on data representing more than half a million US employees, our findings provide guidance for employers on how to make a meaningful and sustainable difference:

  1. Target turnover. Data show that companies can better accelerate progress for Black employees by achieving high levels of retention.

  2. Pivot the pipeline. Organizations have not yet developed strong internal talent pipelines for Black employees — which will require accessing previously untapped sources of talent.

  3. Create pay and career equity. Achieving pay equity by race has become a more conscious part of companies’ compensation philosophies, but it is not the whole compensation story.

  4. Dig into disparities. Effective corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts need to address sizeable disparities in health and financial wellness that afflict the Black workforce.

  5. Explore employee experience. We are seeing significant gaps in how employers approach the everyday experience for Black employees.

  6. Target transparency. Pressure is increasing from many internal and external constituencies to make visible improvement in corporate DEI outcomes.

  7. Too soon to tell. Companies are taking a wait-and-see approach to some key tactics and in other cases, it’s too soon to tell whether these types of programs are having an impact.

A blueprint for making a difference

Accelerating change demands an impact- and data-driven approach. This report provides specific guidance on how to advance career, physical and financial as well as belonging equity for Black employees. Regardless of where your organization is on in its journey, Mercer offers practical actions for making true and lasting progress.


We invite US employers to examine the powerful role they can play in contributing to real progress by stepping up for equity and eliminating disparities within their own walls.

Contact us to review what the findings mean for your organization