New law could force employers to reveal race pay gap figures

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Under new plans unveiled by British prime minister Theresa May to increase ethnic minority representation in the workplace, employers may soon be asked to release their race pay gap statistics.

May said minorities often “feel like they are hitting a brick wall” at work, and she has launched a consultation to find out if reporting of pay gaps could boost representation. Public services such as the NHS, schools, armed forces and the police force will be asked to detail their plan to increase the number of BAME people in senior positions.

May’s announcement comes after she was challenged by Labour MP Harriet Harman to prove her public commitment to social equality.

The government’s Race Disparity Audit data, which was released last year, suggests black people, Asians and other ethnic groups were likely to be on a low salary than their white counterparts. An audit launched by London’s mayor Sadiq Khan earlier this year found that the city’s black and minority ethnic public employees were paid anything up to 37 per cent less on average than their white counterparts.

May’s plans also include the introduction of what is being called a “race at work charter”, signed by NHS England, the Civil Service, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, accountancy firm KPMG and advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi.

They will enter a commitment to increase the representation and career progression of ethnic minorities.

Announcing the scheme, May said: “Every employee deserves the opportunity to progress and fulfil their potential in their chosen field, regardless of which background they are from, but too often ethnic minority employees feel they’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression.

“That’s why I’m delighted to launch the Race at Work Charter, which gives businesses a clear set of actions to work towards in helping to create greater opportunities for ethnic minority employees at work.”

The prime minister added: “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.”