Public polling on issues of racial equality has been taking place since long before the civil rights movement. Our research is intended to collect data on how workers are viewing the statements and actions of their employers. Companies have been expected to speak out on social issues for some time now, and the expectation for them to do so is growing. That is reflected in our results.
Take a Stand When we asked workers if they expect their employers to take a stand on social issues, 31 percent said “yes” unequivocally and 41 percent said “yes, but only when the issue directly affects the company’s business.” Just over one quarter said “no.” Black workers are even more likely to expect their companies to take a stand on social issues, even when they disagree with the position taken.
As younger generations enter the workforce, the expectation that companies will address issues of social change and racial justice is likely to increase. Young people are significantly more likely to want to hear from leaders at their own company on George Floyd and racial discrimination: 52 percent of Gen Z want company leaders to address his death and the protest specifically, compared to 29 percent of Millennials, 15 percent of Gen X and just 10 percent of Baby Boomers.
And when companies do speak out, their voices are heard: Workers are paying attention to what companies are saying in response to the killing of George Floyd and the protests, with 68 percent of workers saying they are aware of companies issuing statements expressing support for racial justice.