Businesses could be made to reveal race pay gap figures under new plans unveiled by Theresa May in efforts to create a “fairer and more diverse workforce”.
The Prime Minister will launch a landmark review into the differences in pay and career progression between BAME and white employees in a bid to address “significant disparities” in the workplace.
Employers will be invited to share their views on how the pay gap can be tackled and how such data should be recorded, given that few companies violeteer race pay gap information.
Announcing the plans, May remarked that “too often ethnic minority employees feel they’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression.”
The announcement follows a Race Disparity Audit last year which revealed gaps in pay and promotion opportunities.
The Government report showed widely varying outcomes in areas including education, employment, health and criminal justice between white and ethnic minority populations in the UK.
Too often ethnic minority employees feel they’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression Theresa May
Gender pay gap figures which showed wide discrepancies between men and women in some firms were published earlier in 2018.
The consultation will run until January 2019.
The Prime Minister will announce the measures alongside the Race at Work Charter established to drive better representation of ethnic minority employees and leaders at work.
Key public services including the NHS, police, schools and the army will be made to announce plans to increase the number of senior leaders from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Jointly developed by the Government and charity Business in the Community, the Charter has been signed by a number of organisations across sectors including NHS England, communications giant WPP, and Lloyds Banking Group.
This will include the first ever Diversity, Equality and Inclusion strategy to be published by the National Police Chief Council.
The Government has also appointed a Race at Work champion, naming Karen Blackett, chairwoman of MediaCom UK and WPP executive, in the role.
May said: “One year on from publishing the Race Disparity Audit, the government is delivering on its promise to explain or change ethnic disparities in all areas of society, taking action to support young people into work with funding of £90 million from dormant bank accounts, and acting on the recommendations of the Lammy review including by increasing diversity within prison officer recruitment.
“Our focus is now on making sure the UK’s organisations, boardrooms and senior management teams are truly reflective of the workplaces they manage, and the measures we are taking today will help employers identify the actions needed to create a fairer and more diverse workforce.”
Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, 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.
“Reporting must be done in a way that is supported by both businesses and employees, to recognise the wide range of ethnic groups and legitimate staff concerns about intrusiveness where sample sizes are small.
“Companies want to work with the Government to achieve their goal of becoming more inclusive employers.”