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Ethnicity pay gap reporting could help tackle disparities

The government has revealed that it plans to tackle the ethnicity pay gap in a range of measures, which could include mandatory reporting in much the same way as the gender pay gap is reported.

This move would force companies employing more than 250 people to report the difference in wages between ethnic groups as well as between men and women.

The proposals come on the back of a report by the Greater London Authority that found there was a pay gap of as much as 37 per cent among public service employees in the capital.

Other measures to tackle disparities include increasing diversity among prison offers, backing education schemes for ethnic minority lawyers and introducing targeted support into employment schemes in selected areas across the UK.

Prime minister, Theresa May  said that ethnic minority employees feel that they are “hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression” and added that senior management teams throughout UK organisations must reflect the workplaces that they manage.

Kelly Tolhurst, minister for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility, commented: “Our working population is increasingly diverse with more individuals from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds entering the workforce.

By understanding and taking action to overcome the barriers faced by all ethnic groups in the workplace, we can put diversity at the heart of how we do business and do right by all working people”.

There are also calls across organisations such as NHS, armed forces, schools and police forces for the government to back increased recruitment of ethnic minority leaders.

The Confederation of British Industry has given a cautious welcome to plan. Chief UK policy director, Matthew Fell, said: “Transparency can be a catalyst for action in tackling the ethnicity pay gap, in the same way that it has been so successful for gender. But reporting must be done in a way that is supported by both businesses and employees.”

Consultation on the proposals will run until January 2019.

Author: Gail Harris