44% of employers voluntarily publish their ethnicity pay gap, new research finds
Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today published new findings from its 2023 Race at Work Charter survey, capturing the views of nearly 250 UK employers representing 1.2 million UK employees. The survey found that the number of employers publishing their ethnicity pay gap has increased from 30% in 2020 to 44% in 2023.
The survey, which tracks the business action being taking to address racial inequalities, also found no change since 2020 in the number of employers who have a Race Champion or an Executive Sponsor for race, with the figure remaining at 95%. In addition, 53% of employers said that they have targets to increase the racial diversity of their boards and senior executive teams, increasing from 46% in 2020.
One area that has seen steep decline since the launch of the survey is around employers conducting reviews of their bullying and harassment policies. 95% of employers have a bullying and harassment policy in place, yet only 25% of those have conducted a review to ensure that these policies are working. This has declined steadily since 2019, when 45% of employers said that they conducted reviews, compared to 38% in 2020.
The survey also found that 84% of employers support ethnically diverse individuals in leadership, progression, and recruitment, increasing from 74% in 2020. However, only 44% of employers have set objectives for their Board and senior team, which include action on race, decreasing from 50% in 2019 and 46% in 2020. In addition, only one in five employers set objectives on race for line managers, remaining the same since 2020.
Additionally, the survey found that 73% of employers have mentoring or reverse mentoring schemes set up for their Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and other ethnically diverse employees, rising slightly from 72% in 2020. The survey also found that 56% of employers sponsor ethnically diverse employees, rising from 2020, when only 46% of employers did this.
The Race at Work Charter, a public commitment that employers can make to prioritise race in the workplace, has been signed by over 1,000 employers, representing nearly six million employees. The employers were asked to share the actions they are taking against the following seven Race at Work Charter commitments:
- Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race equality
- Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress
- Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
- Make equity, diversity, and inclusion the responsibility of all leaders and managers
- Take action that supports Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and other ethnically diverse employee career progression
- Support race inclusion allies in the workplace
- Include Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and other ethnically diverse-led enterprise owners in supply chains
Sandra Kerr CBE, Race Director at Business in the Community,said:
“It’s encouraging to see an increase in the number of employers taking action to address racial inequalities in the workplace, however, there is still a lot of work to be done. Whilst the survey shows that almost all employers have good policies for bullying and harassment, it is disappointing to see that only one in four review these policies to ensure that they are working. With BITC research showing that three in 10 Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and other ethnically diverse employees have experienced or witnessed bullying and harassment in the workplace, this is an area that employers need to address urgently. Having policies in place is a step in the right direction, but without understanding if these policies are actually working, employers cannot honestly say that they have robust policies and procedures in place to deal with bullying and harassment in their workplaces.” 
Richard Iferenta, Partner and Vice Chair at KPMG and Chair of BITC’s Race Leadership Team, said:
“It is encouraging to see that 95% of employers have committed to having a senior leader with responsibility for addressing race inequalities in the workplace. Equal opportunities at work, regardless of a person’s background, can help under-represented talent to progress in their careers. This is not only the right thing to do, but it also helps to ensure that the UK’s workforce becomes more reflective of the working-age population, of which one in five comes from a Black, Asian, Mixed Race, or other ethnically diverse background.”
Baroness McGregor-Smith CBE said:
“The momentum behind ethnicity pay gap reporting has been phenomenal, with nearly one in two employers now voluntarily publishing their ethnicity pay gap. Whilst the government’s guidance on voluntary ethnicity pay gap reporting is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. Mandatory reporting is essential, so that the government and businesses can work together to address any disparities in pay that Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and other ethnically diverse employees experience.”
Notes to editor
- Download the 2023 Race at Work Charter Survey report here.
- Download the 2020 Race at Work Charter Survey report here.
- Find out more about BITC’s Race campaign, including the Race at Work Charter here.
- See a full list of Race at Work Charter signatories here.
- 2021 Race at Work Scorecard Report
For further information, please contact Polly Dacam, Press Officer, on 07713 101878.