56% collect data on average pay by ethnicity

Just over half (56%) of employer respondents collect data on average pay by ethnicity, according to research conducted as part of an independent review led by Baroness McGregor-Smith.

The Race in the workplace: the McGregor-Smith review, which received responses to its call for evidence from 416 employees, 26 employers and 37 organisations, also found that 64% of employer respondents collect data on salary bands by ethnicity.

The review, which was commissioned by Sajid Javid, former secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, considers the issues facing black and minority ethnic (BME) groups in the workplace.

The research also found that 91% of employer respondents have policies or practices in place that actively support BME progression.

However, only 54% of employee respondents are aware that their organisation has BME networks to support BME progression. Other initiatives that respondents are aware of within their organisations include unconscious bias training (44%), mentoring (43%), and the use of diversity and inclusion champions (34%).

The review recommends that diversity champions and networks continue to play a meaningful role in supporting BME employees, and that senior level and executive buy-in towards diversity policies needs to increase.

The review recommendations also include implementing reverse mentoring, unconscious bias training and executive sponsorship, as well as having a transparent and fair reward and recognition approach.

The review also recommends that the government introduce legislation to ensure listed organisations and businesses with more than 50 employees publish workforce data broken down by race and pay band, and that organisations should be encouraged to improve reporting rates among their workforce and explain why supplying this data will improve diversity and the business as a whole.

In a response to the review, Margot James, minister for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility, asserted that the government believes a non-legislative approach is the most suitable approach at present.

Sandra Kerr OBE, race equality director at Business in the Community, said: “We welcome this review as it clearly shows that harnessing the very best of [BME] talent is the way forward that makes sense for employers. I wholeheartedly believe that every person, regardless of their ethnicity or background should be able to fulfil their potential at work. That is the business as well as the moral case. We know that diverse organisations that attract and develop individuals from the widest pool of talent consistently perform better, but this change has to be employer-led. The time for talking is over; now is the time to act.”