The ethnicity pay gap reveals the difference in the average pay between all black, Asian and minority ethnic staff compared to white staff in a workforce.

With many businesses in the UK calling for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting; employers may be wondering if they are doing enough.

What are the facts?

In the most recent publication from the ONS on the ethnicity pay gap, it was revealed that:

  • The pay gap between white and ethnic minority employees has decreased to its smallest level since 2012 in England and Wales
  • The ethnicity pay gap is greater for men than women
  • The ethnicity pay gap for those aged 30 and over is higher than for those aged 16 to 29
  • The ethnicity pay gap fluctuates across regions and is at its worst in London.

There were also some wide differences among various ethnic minorities revealed, for example:

  • Pakistani employees on average earned £10.55 per hour (a 16 per cent pay gap)
  • White and Black African employees on average earned £10.57 per hour (a 15 per cent pay gap)
  • Chinese employees earned £15.38 per hour (a -23 per cent pay gap)
  • White Irish employees on average earned £17.55 per hour (a -41 per cent pay gap)

According to research by People Like Us and Censuswide, the pay of workers from black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic backgrounds is 16 per cent less compared to their white colleagues.

A quarter of these said that the gap in pay was up to £5,000 a year.

Almost 59 per cent believe the colour of their skin is stopping them climbing the business ladder and progressing their career, and 26 per cent have left their job because they weren’t being paid what they felt they deserved.

Is there an impact on mental health?

Being paid less due to your background and colour of your skin is sure to leave a lasting effect.

Of those surveyed, 50 per cent revealed that not getting a raise or a promotion had negatively affected their mental wellbeing, provoking feelings of anxiety or depression.

It was also revealed that many employers speak openly about the desire to tackle the ethnicity pay gap, but don’t do anything to act on it.

Sheeraz Gulsher, co-founder of People Like Us, said: “Organisations need to get better at identifying pay gaps and progression bias within their companies, because without understanding the issue, you can’t fix it.”

What can employers do?

In order to tackle inequality in the workplace and close the ethnicity pay gap, employers should consider:

  • Establishing a culture of trust where employees feel they can disclose their ethnicity
  • Advocating diversity and inclusion from the top and embed it in your company’s recruitment and development habits
  • Creating a culture of inclusion by starting important conversations at work.

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