Renewed calls for ethnicity pay gap reporting

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Date: 23 June 2020

Close up of smiling African American employee look at female colleague chatting in office

Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for businesses will be debated in Parliament after a petition attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

The petition comes as prime minister Boris Johnson announced a new inquiry into racial inequality in the UK. However, questions are being asked about why recommendations from previous reviews have not been implemented. It is over three years since Tory peer Ruby McGregor-Smith conducted a review that recommended that companies should be compelled to publish data on how ethnically diverse they are by pay band.

The government department for business (BEIS) conducted a consultation into ethnicity pay reporting in 2018 but it has yet to publish the results. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data from 2019 suggests that white workers were paid 3.8% more than all other ethnic groups.

Baroness McGregor-Smith, who is president of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), told the Financial Times that "The big gap is ethnicity pay reporting … and that needs to change".

Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary, said: "The government must place a legal requirement on employers to identify and tackle the barriers facing BME workers. We need much greater transparency and accountability. As Baroness McGregor-Smith rightly observed 'daylight is the best disinfectant'."

A new study by Instant Offices has found that diversity and inclusivity within British workplaces is "severely lacking". Its findings show that only 56% of British employees believe employers are trying to be more diverse and inclusive.

Lucinda Pullinger, global head of HR at The Instant Group, said: "It's important to remember that a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture are different. If you have diversity, you don't necessarily have inclusion … For things to improve, the focus on diversity in organisations needs to be on-going and measured."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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