Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet

What you told us about race equality

28 Apr 2023

Race Equality Charter staff survey and focus groups results

Image of The University of Manchester building

Dear colleague, 

At the end of 2022, we asked staff and students to share their views on race equality and a range of topics related to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the University. We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that took the time to share their views through the survey and our focus groups.  

This consultation is an essential part of our preparations for our upcoming submission for Advance HE's Race Equality Charter (REC).  

The REC staff and student surveys were open to all, regardless of race or ethnicity. 710 staff members, of which 238 (34%) self-identified as being from an ethnic minority background completed the survey.  

We also held two focus groups with members of the BAME Staff Network, one session with students from minority ethnic backgrounds, and two sessions with staff from Estates and Facilities where we know there is a higher proportion of staff from minority ethnic groups and where colleagues are less likely to complete online surveys.  

Survey and Focus Group Results for staff

Recruitment and career progression  

  • 64% respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds agreed that the University undertakes recruitment and selection fairly (up from 56% in the 2017 REC survey);   
  • 32% academic respondents from minority backgrounds said they have been encouraged to apply for promotion, compared to 57% from non- minority backgrounds;
  • Career development – focus group attendees have benefitted from more diverse and race-aware career development opportunities available such as Stellar HE and 100 Black Women Professors Now, although this was not the experience of all; 
  • Career progression – focus group attendees reported feeling unable to progress in their careers, often after years of service. 

Pay Gaps  

  • 47% staff from minority ethnic backgrounds agreed that they are paid the same as colleagues who do the same job, compared to 62% respondents from a non-minority background;  
  • 34% staff from minority backgrounds agreed that pay awards and increases are allocated fairly and transparently, compared to 48% respondents from a non-minority background.  


  • Focus group attendees commented on a lack of diversity and transparency amongst management and leadership and its impact; 
  • Panels – focus group attendees reported bias and a lack of diversity on recruitment panels led to them feeling uncomfortable. 

Bullying, harassment and discrimination  

  • 27% respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds reported that they had witnessed or been the victim of racial discrimination on campus (down from 38% in 2017);  
  • 50% minority respondents agreed that appropriate action would be taken if they reported a race-related incident to the University, compared to 70% those not from a minority group.   

Culture and support 

  • Focus group attendees commented positively about the higher profile of EDI on the University’s agenda, including establishing the Directorate of EDI and launching the EDI strategy with clear objectives; 
  • 85% minority ethnic respondents agreed that they are able to take advantage of flexible working (up from 66% in 2017).  

Recommending the institution 

  • 75% respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds agreed that they would recommend the University to a prospective staff member, compared to 85% for those not from a minority group.  

Next steps  

All views shared via the surveys and focus groups form part of a wide and varied evidence base that we will draw on for our REC submission. This also includes core data sets, results from previous NSS surveys and the results from the Staff Survey 2022

The survey results and focus group feedback were considered by the REC self-assessment team and key stakeholders who attended the REC action planning workshop in February. This was the first step towards developing an evidence-based, embedded and strategically aligned race equality action plan which forms a crucial part of our submission, due in July 2023.  

The actions we commit to in our plan are designed to ensure that the University is a great place of work and study for all its staff and students, regardless of race, ethnicity or intersectional identity. 

Best wishes, 

Professor Dawn Edge, Chair of the REC self-assessment team and Academic Lead for Equality for Race, Religion and Belief, on behalf of the REC self-assessment team and the Directorate of EDI 

More information