‘No excuses’.

That was the blunt verdict of the influential Women and Equalities Committee in the House of Commons when they published the report from their review of ethnicity pay reporting at the start of February. Their earlier investigation had highlighted the deeply unequal impact of the pandemic on BAME people, as well as women and disabled people, health and wealth-wise. According to its chair Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, ‘The pandemic has sharpened the focus on pre-existing inequalities for BAME people across a range of policy areas…now is the time to tackle the inequalities.” 

‘No excuses’. For the government for not making ethnicity pay reporting (EPR) mandatory, following the success of their annual publication requirement for gender pay gaps, (introduced in 2017). And almost four years now after their consultation on the issue showed overwhelming support for compulsory EPR from across the political spectrum and all sides of industry. According to CIPD’s  CEO Peter Cheese in 2018, ‘The CIPD highlights the need for organisations to be more transparent about how they report on ethnicity… as a catalyst for creating more diverse, inclusive workplaces’.

This support has undoubtedly been intensified by the Black Lives Matter movement and following the murder of George Floyd, with a parliamentary petition proposing mandatory EPR rapidly attracting more than 130,000 signatories.

And ‘no excuses’ for employers for not publishing their data anyway, whether or not they are compelled to. As PwC state in their data-analysis-rich annual diversity report ‘The transparency and accountability that our diversity metrics bring - including our pay gap data - is crucial in driving equity and fairness across our firm.’ Their analysis for example, shows that holding other factors such as education level constant, non-UK born ethnic minority staff are still paid on average more than 10% less than their equivalent white employees.

Most UK employers wouldn’t have a clue as to whether this was happening or not, never mind about how they might go about fixing such pay injustice. You can only act if you understand the problem.

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