Olivia Hill: Should it be mandatory for employers to report on their ethnicity pay gap?

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is strongly committed to equality and diversity. As a result, we’ve been at the forefront of campaigns to improve gender pay gap reporting and to ensure compulsory ethnicity pay gap reporting at all organisations employing more than 250 people.

Earlier this year we published our ethnicity pay data for the first time. It was important for us to take this proactive step to set a benchmark and give ourselves a goal to work towards. We previously used this approach on gender pay data which led to an increased focus on diversity and helped reduce our gender pay gap, and hope publishing our ethnicity pay data will have a similar impact.

We also responded to the recent Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) consultation on diversity and inclusion on company boards and executive committees, and were fully supportive of their proposal to require organisations to publish standardised data on the composition of their board and most senior level of executive management by gender and ethnic background.

Although the FCA’s proposed comply or explain approach is an improvement on the current voluntary action being taken, we consider a requirement to comply would be a more robust approach, rather than giving an opportunity to explain away any failure to comply.

However, publishing this data must be backed up with action. As part of this AAT has signed up to the Race at Work Charter, set up an Executive Sponsor for Race and undertaken further analysis on how to best support all employees’ career progression.

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We will also continue our annual benchmarking through the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion and provide unconscious bias training throughout the organisation, as well as building inclusivity into our culture change programme to raise up our work in this area further. This will help ensure all employees feel included and enabled to reach their full potential, and we would encourage other employers to do the same.

Olivia Hill is director of HR at Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)