Government review into efforts to banish ethnicity pay gap launched

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The Government has commissioned new research into what steps employers have been taking to promote more diversity in the workplace and how they are trying to banish a stubborn ethnicity pay gap.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Wednesday said that it had commissioned the new research off the back of the independent McGregor-Smith Review into black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) participation and progression in the workplace.

Published in February last year, that review found that the UK economy could benefit from a £24bn-a-year boost if BAME people had the same opportunities as their white counterparts in the worklace.

The review also called on companies with more than 50 employees to publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay band – similar to the gender pay gap regulation which came into effect last year and will see all companies employing more than 250 people in the UK having to publish a gender pay gap report by early April this year.

The department said that the research would be carried out by the charity Business in the Community (BITC), and that it would examine what action employers are taking to prevent bullying and harassment of BAME people in the workplace and whether companies report their ethnicity pay gap.

“This will help to establish whether any further action is needed to ensure workplaces are inclusive,” it said.

The review is expected to take one year and will form part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy’s ambition to help businesses create higher-quality and better paying jobs, and to ensure that people from a host of different backgrounds can thrive in their chosen workplace.

“It is unacceptable that people are being held back in the workplace because of their ethnic background – we want to make sure that the economy works for everyone, so people have the same opportunities to progress and can achieve their true potential,” said business minister Andrew Griffiths.

“This new research will establish what steps employers have taken to haul down workplace barriers and harness the talent of a diverse workforce, helping us to assess if further action is needed,” he said.

Sandra Kerr, race equality director at Business in the Community, said that she particularly welcomed the Government’s commitment “to support the survey and championing of the race equality agenda”.

The McGregor-Smith Review 2017 provided 26 recommendations on areas such as raising transparency and celebrating success, to help promote black and ethnic minorities’ role in the workplace.

Baroness McGregor-Smith, who conducted the review, said on Wednesday that the new research would provide an opportunity to “take stock of progress and consider if stronger actions are needed for us to see change”.