In a shocking recent poll on Unconscious Bias, the Guardian surveyed almost 3,000 people on their experiences with unconscious bias in the UK - only to find that ethnic minorities are far more likely to have had negative encounters than white people have reported.
What is Unconscious Bias?
The actual definition of an unconscious bias is "a bias we're unaware of that isn't in our control, which is caused by our brain being automatically triggered by certain elements that cause quick judgments and assessments of people and situations".
Unconscious bias often influences decisions in recruitment and generally in the workplace and can affect things like promotions and pay rises. Unconscious bias can be discriminatory when it relates to any protected characteristics.
Although unconscious biases are unintentional, there are still ways to reduce and prevent unconscious biases influencing your decisions - and the best way is to be aware of all types of unconscious biases.
The following images are all credited to The Guardian's article on Bias in Britain: explore the poll results
Being overlooked in a job application process or for promotion at work in a manner that felt unfair
Being mistaken for a member of staff in a restaurant, shop or hotel etc
Being refused entrance or asked to leave a restaurant, bar or club for no good reason
Someone at work, university or school treating me differently because of my clothing, hairstyle or general appearance
A stranger being abusive or rude to me in public
Being treated like a potential shoplifter in a shop when I hadn’t done anything wrong
Some minority ethnic respondents who experienced a further set of scenarios attributed these negative experiences to bias
A significant proportion of minority ethnic respondents had faced the negative experiences recently
Most people from minorities say Britain has a problem with racism, and half say those who treat them in a biased way are unaware of it
Why Unconscious Bias Training is essential for businesses
As previously stated, unconscious biases can lead to unfair and discriminatory decisions in the workplace. Let's take recruitment as an example. A recruiter may choose a candidate for a job because they are more attractive than anyone else and disregard things like qualifications or even how well they interviewed. This type of unconscious bias is known as the Beauty Bias.
There are plenty of other types of unconscious biases that everyone in the workplace must be aware of. If not, you will most likely find that there will be a negative workplace atmosphere, or even face a lawsuit for not being compliant with the Equality Act 2010.
So whatever steps you take in removing unconscious biases in the workplace is down to you - but it is certainly an issue that must be dealt with!