Business leaders call on Prime Minister to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

Today, 30 business leaders unite in a plea to the government to introduce a mandatory duty for employers to report on their ethnicity pay gap.

Brought together by Business in the Community (BITC) and its Race Equality Leadership Team, the employers have written a letter to Boris Johnson, urging him to recognise that a mandatory duty to report is seen as a tool to create fair workplaces rather than a burden.

Richard Iferenta, Vice-Chair and Partner at KPMG and Chair of BITC’s Race Equality Leadership Team, said

“The collective voice of these business leaders should not be ignored. A mandatory duty to report on ethnicity pay gaps would mean that businesses would have a consistent, clear framework which they could use to tackle discrimination. When businesses say that extra regulation would be welcome rather than a burden, it might be time for the government to seize the opportunity.”

Sandra Kerr CBE, race director at BITC, said

‘‘I hope that this letter will represent a line in the sand for the government. Now, only they can take the steps needed to help all businesses follow in the footsteps of forerunners like the members of BITC’s race leadership team. Employers aren’t running scared from ethnicity pay gap reporting – and neither should the Prime Minister.”

Dear Editor,

With COVID-19 rocking the foundations of our economy and society, it is more important than ever that employers take urgent steps to support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) colleagues from disproportionate impact. Today, we are asking the Prime Minister to join us in that mission by making it mandatory for all organisations to report on their ethnicity pay gap.

Too often, people think that pay gap data is just about the numbers. In fact, they are just a means to an end. By elevating conversations about our ethnicity pay gap to our Executive teams and our Boards, we give those who work for us – and those who want to – the faith that we take the time to understand their different perspectives.

We are proud that we are already taking steps to voluntarily publish our ethnicity pay gap and pleased that 11% of companies have already done so. But voluntary publication will never be enough: until all organisations with more than 250 employees have to report on their pay gap, none of us will have the depth of insight that we need to bring about change at the right scale.

We know that this government cares about business and that you do not want to give us an impossible task when we are all facing such monumental challenges. However, our message to you today is simple: we don’t see this as a burden. We know that this works and that we can teach other organisations to follow our lead.

The UK’s businesses stand ready to make this country one of the fairest places to work in the world. Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting would be a monumental step towards that ambition: we are only waiting on your word.

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Mackenzie OBE, chief executive, Business in the Community
Richard Iferenta, vice-chair and partner at KPMG, chair of BITC’s race equality leadership team
Alex Chadwick, London managing partner, Baker McKenzie
Alison Rose, Chief Executive Officer, NatWest Group
Andrew Haines, chief executive, Network Rail
António Horta-Osório, CEO, Lloyds Banking Group
Carmen Watson, managing director, Pertemps
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general, CBI
David Dunckley, CEO, Grant Thornton UK LLP
David Hynam, CEO, Bupa Global & UK
Dimple Agarwal, deputy CEO and managing partner of people & purpose, Deloitte
Doug Brown, CEO UK, Canada Life Limited
Frances O’Grady, general secretary, Trades Union Congress
Gideon Moore, firmwide managing partner, Linklaters LLP
Hywel Ball, UK&I regional managing partner and UK chair, EY
Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman, Barclays Bank UK
Joe Garner, chief executive officer, Nationwide Building Society
Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL, chair of Change the Race Ratio
Karen Blackett OBE, UK country manager, WPP & UK CEO, GroupM
Laura Hinton, executive board member and chief people officer, PwC
Lee Ranson, chief executive, Eversheds Sutherland
Nathan Bostock, CEO, Santander UK plc
Matthew Taylor, CEO, The RSA
Mike Haigh, executive chair, Mott MacDonald
Neville Koopowitz, CEO, Vitality
Peter Scott, Managing Partner, Europe, Middle East and Asia, Norton Rose Fulbright

Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, president, British Chamber of Commerce
Sinead Lynch, country chair, Shell UK
Steve Murrells, CEO, the Co-Op
Susan Bright, global managing partner for diversity & inclusion and responsible business, Hogan Lovells
Tulsi Naidu, CEO, Zurich UK

ENDS

Inequality in the workplace:

  • Recent research by Business in the Community found that there has been little change in the number of black people in senior professional roles since 2012, representing just 1.5% of managers, directors and senior officials in the UK.
  • BITC’s 2020 Race at Work Black Voices report found that 33% of black employees feel their ethnicity will be a barrier to their next career move, compared to only 1% of white employees.
  • BITC’s research shows that only 11% of companies report on their ethnicity pay gap voluntarily.
  • In 2017, the government recognised that a mandatory duty might be necessary, responding to the McGregor-Smith Review’s recommendation to introduce one by saying they would monitor voluntary reporting for a year but that they stood by, ready to act should companies not do enough. In January 2019, a formal consultation on ethnicity pay gaps closed. The government response has yet to be published.

About Business in the Community

Business in the Community (BITC) is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business. We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

  • Develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow;
  • Build thriving communities where people want to live and work;
  • Innovate to sustain and repair our planet.

Media Contact

Isabel Wilkinson, Business in the Community

Email: Isabel.wilkinson@bitc.org.uk; 07702 903 216

Find out more about BITC’s Race agendaand sign the The Race at Work Charter.

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