The Guardian

Big employers fail to reveal ethnicity pay gap figures

- Robert Booth Social affairs correspond­ent

Only 13 of the 100 largest UKlisted employers have revealed their ethnicity pay gaps, sparking fresh calls for the government to make reporting of racial earnings disparitie­s mandatory.

Analysis of the FTSE 100, which includes the biggest firms listed on the London Stock Exchange, found widespread commitment­s from employers to take action on racial disparity in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020 have yet to result in hard data.

Among those to have published figures are the developer British Land, which revealed a pay gap between white and ethnic minority staff of more than 27%; BT, which reported a mean pay gap of 5.7% between white British and black African, Caribbean and British staff; and NatWest, which reported an overall 14.1% median ethnicity pay gap.

But big employers such as Next, Unilever and Aviva have yet to declare figures and the Chartered Institute of Profession­al Developmen­t, which carried out the research, said progress was too slow and inconsiste­nt.

On Monday MPs will debate making ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory after 130,000 people signed a petition backing the change.

All employers with more than 250 staff must already publish gender pay gap figures, which do not necessaril­y represent unequal pay for equal work but can show how different groups are distribute­d across pay bands.

“It is only once we see organisati­ons publicly start to report the diversity of their workforce that we will see real change start to happen,” said Ruby McGregor-Smith, author of a 2017 review of race in the workplace that called for legislatio­n requiring ethnicity data by salary band.

But in April, the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparitie­s said reporting should only be done on a voluntary basis.

A government spokespers­on said it was considerin­g the commission’s recommenda­tions alongside its own consultati­on, which finished in January 2019. “Building a fairer economy means ensuring the UK’s organisati­ons reflect the nation’s diversity,” they said.

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