Tag: DE&I

Employers told to voluntarily report ethnicity pay  

Ever since the Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations were introduced in 2017 the industry has been discussing whether the UK Government would introduce mandatory ethnicity pay reporting requirements for UK employers. Over the years, there have been several calls to action and lobbies for the Government to do so but pleas have fallen on deaf ears as last week, the Government confirmed that “at this stage” it will not be introducing a mandatory requirement for UK employers to report on their ethnicity pay – much to the dismay of many industry bodies, regulators and employers.  

Considering the sharp focus on DE&I post COVID-19, this decision is somewhat disappointing as Laurie Ollivent, Senior Associate, Employment & Incentives and the Diversity Faculty at Linklaters commented: “Whilst the Government hasn’t ruled out introducing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting in the future, it is clear that we should not expect it as a legal requirement in the UK anytime soon. But what the Government has said is that for those employers who choose to voluntarily report on their ethnicity pay gap, they are supportive of the recommendation that employers should publish accompanying action plans and a diagnosis which explains any pay gap and addresses any disparities, and once employers are equipped with a trustworthy, consistent standard for reporting, they should take meaningful action to identify and tackle any causes of disparate pay. In other words – employers need to focus on their narratives. Whilst we accept there are challenges to ethnicity pay reporting beyond those employers face with gender pay reporting which means that the data alone will only ever be a blunt tool to identify potential disparities, the expectation of a narrative without further guidance on what this should look like and the requirement for employers to tackle any causes of disparate pay and report on progress may be off-putting for some businesses considering whether to voluntarily report on their data at this stage and risks halting progress on voluntary reporting rather than encouraging it.  

Simon Kerr-Davis, Counsel, Employment & Incentives and the Diversity Faculty at Linklaters also made comment: “The Women and Equalities Committee report from early 2022 highlighted the increase in employers choosing to voluntarily report on their ethnicity pay gaps. The report states that in 2021, 19% of UK employers voluntarily reported on ethnicity pay – up from 11% in 2018. Whilst this sounds promising and is a large increase, many believe that mandatory reporting obligations are needed – much in the same way as gender pay reporting obligations – for other businesses to follow suit and really drive and achieve change across UK business. 

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Two thirds of women say workplace ‘behind’ with gender equality

[subhed] 63% of women feel unsupported at work

Research by Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy, has found that around two thirds of women in the UK believe there is still a long way to go when it comes to a range of gender equality issues, from career prospects and personal development to parental support.

The research included a sample of over 1,000 women and asked how they rated the organisation they worked for on a variety of inclusion issues. It found that around two thirds of women believed their organisations were behind the industry when it came to equal pay and equitable opportunity (63%), representation (64%), and career development (64%).

Additionally, a significant proportion of survey women believed their organisation either did not have a plan or didn’t know where to start to address issues of equal pay (30%), representation (26%) or career development (32%).

Less than half of the women surveyed (39%) could point to initiatives put in place by their company to address gender inequality, and only one in seven said their organisation had programmes to mentor women employees, while almost a quarter said their organisations provided inclusion training.

The survey revealed that 63% of women felt there was more work that could be done when it came to supporting working parents, with 29% believing their organisation either did not have a plan to resolve this issue or did not know where to start. Just one in six (18%) said their organisation has an official return to work programme.

More broadly, asking a sample of men, women and underrepresented gender minorities (UGM), the research found the vast majority of organizations (89%) agreed that there were business benefits from championing gender equality issues. Almost a third (29%) could see that it would foster better employee relationships, with the same proportion believing it would increase staff retention.

Amy Lynch, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Thoughtworks UK, commented: “International Women’s Day is a key event to shine a spotlight on important areas. There have been some seismic shifts in just a couple of generations, however our results serve as a reminder that the finishing line is still some way off. We have to be candid that some challenges remain, but we can change this with positive action, effective policies and dedication all year round.

“For the tech sector, this is particularly important. There is a wealth of talent out there that does not fit a preconceived ‘mold’ and importantly could offer a sector which relies on innovation and different ways of thinking, a fresh perspective. A culture of inclusion and equity is an essential factor in the quest to attract and retain the best talent. It is the responsibility of leaders within the sector to create paths to give communities that feel technology is not for them the confidence to apply for jobs.”

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19% of women have left a job because of the inability to balance work and caring duties

According to wide-ranging research by Ipsos and Business in the Community (BITC), nearly six out of ten women (58%) say caring responsibilities have stopped them applying for promotion or a new job, and one in five (19%) have left a job because it was too hard to balance work and care.

Whilst 35% of all adults, and 44% per cent of working adults, have caring responsibilities, this research found that they are not spread equally across genders with women accounting for 85% of sole carers for children and 65% of sole carers for older adults. More people from ethnic minority backgrounds (42%) have caring responsibilities than from white backgrounds.

The research was conducted across a sample of 5,444 people in the UK in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of the contemporary attitudes and experiences around combining paid work and care. Although 94% agreed that caring responsibilities should be spread equally, 52% of women who were joint carers say they do more than their fair share with a mere 30% of men admitting they do less.

Only 27% of people believe men and women are treated equally in the workplace with one in five men (20%) saying that caring duties had stopped them from applying for a promotion or a new job, compared to the much higher percentage for women.

The impact of caring responsibilities on workplace progression is greatest on women, who, according to the study, are twice as likely than men to work part-time, and are lower-paid workers and shift workers.

People from black, asian, mixed race or other ethnically diverse groups are disproportionately affected, with the researching revealing that one in two (50%) who have caring responsibilities saying they had been unable to pursue certain jobs or promotions because of this. One in three (32%) have left or considered leaving a job due to a lack of flexibility, compared with around one in five (21%) white people.

Is there a care divide?

According to the research, women make up over half of the lone carers for all groups, including 85% of lone carers for children, 54% of lone carers for working age adults, and 65% of lone carers for older adults. People who care for older adults (68%) are less likely to feel supported than those with childcare responsibilities (78%) or caring for working age adults (77%).

Eight percent of carers identify themselves as ‘sandwich carers’, looking after both children and older adults at the same time with almost half (46%) of current workers having had childcare responsibilities come up ‘during the working day’. Over 50% of women, compared to 42% of men, say their day job has been interrupted because of this. More than one in three women (37%) said other caring responsibilities come up, compared to 31% of men.

Charlotte Woodworth, Gender Equality Campaign Director at BITC, commented: “Employers and policy makers need to understand that caring, for children and others, is a routine part of many people’s lives, and adjust working cultures to better support this. Otherwise, we will continue to see working carers, particularly women and people from black, asian, mixed race and other ethnically diverse backgrounds, pushed down and in some cases out of the workforce.

“Flexibility is key, thinking not just about where work is done, but also when. We need to move past old fashioned ideas about five days a week, 9 – 5, in one location and support everyone to craft a better work life balance, that doesn’t see some people penalised because they can’t work in a certain way.

“But helping women do it all will only get us so far – we must also ensure men are given the opportunity to care. We need to overhaul out-of-date policies that presume only women want to take time out to look after the kids. The government should support employers to offer stand-alone, subsidised paternity leave, in keeping with most people’s beliefs that people of all genders should be supported to care”.

Kelly Beaver, Chief Executive of Ipsos UK, also commented: “A record number of women are in paid work in the UK, and they make up nearly 50% of the workforce, but our research shows that many feel they are held back in their careers by caring responsibilities which are not shared evenly. The majority of those we surveyed believe that more of this responsibility should be shared equally, irrespective of gender, and that employers have a key role in making flexibility at work the rule not the exception.

This research is invaluable in helping employers and policy makers to respond to the increasing demand for a more flexible approach to working and I am proud that at Ipsos we are leading the way, for example all our UK employees are offered equal paid maternity and paternity leave, because we firmly believe that the responsibility of raising a child should not be determined by your gender.”

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A mere 1% of employers report reducing pay gaps

According to results from Mercer’s new UK Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap trends report75% of respondents disagreed with government’s decision to suspend gender pay gap reporting in 2020. Despite 74% of respondents reporting that their numbers have shown continued commitment for inclusion despite the suspension, there appears to be minimal progress made in closing the gap with half of respondents claiming to see little or no progress made year-on-year. A mere 1% of employers reported reducing their pay gap by more than 10%. The results of the report offer a clear indication of how businesses continue to struggle in closing pay gaps – a trend which is expected to continue. Considering the pandemic has brought DE&I into sharp focus, businesses should allocate more attention to pay gaps in a bid to attract and retain talent in a very challenging market.

Findings in the report revealed that fewer than one in three (30%) employers reduced its gender pay gap by 2% between 2019 and 2020. Granted, focus in 2020 was finding new innovative ways to work with the arrival of the pandemic, but alarmingly, a mere 18% of employers reported an increase in pay gap from 2019 to 2020. Recently reported government figures on the UK gender pay gap numbers suggest a median gap of 10.4% for 2020, compared to 9.7% from 2019. A similar theme to Mercer’s 2021 Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap Trends survey; and highlighting that focus on pay gaps has dwindled over the last two years.

Michelle Sequeira, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consulting Leader, Mercer UK commented: “Key drivers of pay gaps range from issues with attracting and retaining women to failing to eliminate the barriers to career progression that prevent female and diverse employees from entering more senior roles. There are employers who have also shown a willingness to change and they are encouraged to conduct deeper analysis to get to the root of the problem and put action plans in place.”

Following many global events surrounding race, it’s believed that employers are now looking beyond gender. Nearly 65% supported legislation enabling ethnicity pay gaps to be addressed and reported with 45% of respondents claiming they felt under pressure to conduct ethnicity pay gap analysis. Even though ethnicity pay gap reporting is not yet a legal requirement in the UK, according to Mercer’s report, 74% of employers have collected data or are planning to do so in future. More than half (57%) are conducting dry-run analysis to calculate ethnicity pay gaps, with 31% reporting that they have published or are planning to publish their pay gaps. Internal stakeholders and employees are adding pressure to organisations to make changes within the organisations and wider society.

Ms Sequeira made final comment: “To truly make a difference, employers must look beyond their pay gaps. In addition to examining ethnicity pay gaps, our report encourages employers to widen the pools from which they recruit and take steps to reduce unconscious bias in processes. Most important of all is creating a genuinely inclusive workforce that allows people to be themselves and thrive both in and outside of work. It is ineffective to offer working parents career development opportunities and salaries if they are expected to extend their working days in ways that negatively impact their family lives. It is futile to hire and train up diverse colleagues if they join a non-inclusive culture or are repeatedly overlooked for promotion. Understanding your current state and engaging and upskilling senior leaders is so key to help them realise where they are going wrong.”

 

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12% of employees believe HR doesn’t champion DE&I

New research from Cezanne HR has revealed that a staggering number of employees don’t trust their HR departments with 58% of respondents agreeing that their HR team champions DE&I, which evidenced strong HR leadership in this area. The same 58% also indicated better performance for HR when asked if they trusted their HR team more or less than before COVID-19. It was perceived that there is less favouritism by HR towards senior or junior staff in the business.

The industry is seeing the benefits that conscious DE&I brings to businesses when it comes to talent attraction and retention, but it seems most HR professionals and organisation leaders may not realise its ripple effects with almost a third of respondents (30%) didn’t know if their HR team champions DE&I, and 12% said their HR team didn’t.

For Cezanne HR’s new report, The Psychology of HR Relationship Building: Trust, visibility, and respect, 1,000 people across the UK and Ireland were asked about different factors that might influence HR’s relationships with the workforce.

For the last 18 months HR departments have grappled with how COVID-19 has affected the workforce and there’s been a definite increased focus on DE&I due to world events. The survey revealed that those HR professionals who are motivated and invested in DE&I showed a higher percentage of people who trusted them more before the pandemic (40% versus 32% for all respondents) than they do following the pandemic.

Shandel McAuliffe, Head of Content for Cezanne HR commented: “At a time when many employees are re-evaluating their career options, the relationship HR has with the wider workforce is critical. Trust is key to that. Employees that trust HR to help them grow with their current employer and create an environment that is fair and inclusive, are going to think twice before jumping ship.”

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