New legislation is being proposed that will require employers to reveal ethnicity pay gap figures to address inequalities faced by ethnic minorities in the workplace.
The Prime Minister has launched a consultation asking employers to contribute their views on mandatory reporting of salaries according to ethnicity.
The consultation is being alongside Race At Work Charter committing businesses to improve the representation of ethnic minority employees, as well as addressing disparities ethnic minorities experience in relation to pay, conditions and progression to senior positions.
Announcing the proposals, Theresa May said: “Every employee deserves the opportunity to progress and fulfil their potential in their chosen field, regardless of which background they are from, but too often ethnic minority employees feel they’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression.”
Mind the Gap
The new measures follow the government’s publication of the Race Disparity Audit in October 2017, highlighting the disparities ethnic minorities experience across education, employment, health and and criminal justice.
It found that within NHS England, it found that 18% of white job applicants shortlisted got the job, compared with 11% of ethnic minorities.
It also highlighted that while 18% of the non-medical NHS workforce were from an ethnic minority group, only 7% of very senior managers and 11% of senior managers were from an ethnic minority group. NHS board members were found to be overwhelmingly (93%) white.
In September data published by NHS Digital revealed salaries of ethnic minority staff are significantly lower than white staff.
The detailed study of the earnings of 750,000 staff highlighted that on average black doctors are paid just under £10,000 less than white doctors while black nurses are paid £2700 less than white nurse.
Earlier this year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s pay audit of public employees in the capital highlighted that ethnic minorities face a shocking pay gap of up to 37%
The audit found that the Greater London Assembly had an ethnic pay gap of 16%, Transport for London 9.8%, Metropolitan Police 16.7% and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation 37.5%.
The London Fire Brigade had an ethnic pay gap of 0%.
Action not Reporting on the Race Pay Gap
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) gave its backing to the move bringing ethnic pay gaps into the open. EHRC Chair David Isaac said, “Extending mandatory reporting beyond gender will raise transparency about other inequalities in the workplace and give employers the insight they need to identify and remove barriers to ethnic minority staff joining and progressing to the highest level in their organisations.
We have previously called for mandatory reporting on ethnicity in recruitment, retention and progression for employers with over 250 employees and welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to consulting on this.”
The scheme mirrors elements of the mandatory reporting of the gender pay gap, with legislation introduced last year requiring firms with over 250 employees to publish data highlighting disparities in salaries according to gender.
However there is frustration that there has not been decisive government action to address the gender pay gap, with Sam Smethers, the head of women’s rights group, the Fawcett Society, saying “We have to move on from simply reporting the pay gap, to taking action to close it.”