Firms ‘not doing enough’ to tackle £3,200,000,000 BAME pay gap

Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers are losing out on £3.2bn a year in wages compared to white colleagues, leading to fresh calls for all companies to publish their BAME pay gaps.

According to a new Race at Work survey, less than a third of businesses (31 per cent) publish the ethnicity pay gap, despite 63 per cent of employers saying they monitor it. The country’s leading racial equalities think tank is now once again asking the government to make the publication of the BAME pay gap mandatory for all companies. Deputy Director of the trust, Dr Zubaida Haque, says that mandatory publication of the figures is not enough and also called on the government to publish guidance to show employers what they should do.

Dr Haque told ‘Employers have got so bogged down in the detail, thinking how do I collect this data, to thinking that there are so many ethnic groups, they have failed to tackle the issue.

‘We know for example that if there is a black male graduate with the exact same qualifications, from the same region of the country, doing the same job, they earn on average 17% less than their white graduate counterparts’.

Dr Haque also highlighted how much of the BAME pay gap was down to wider economic barriers faced by such groups, with young people from ethnic minority backgrounds less likely to be able to afford unpaid internships. Dr Zubaida Haque of the Runnymede trust says all companies must release their BAME pay figures Copyright: Channel 4 One in four BAME members of staff reported experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace (Picture: Getty) She also said that rates of child poverty were higher among ethnic minority children, with more than half of Pakistani and Bangladeshi children growing up in poverty.

Dr Haque said one of the ways to tackle the ethnicity pay gap was for employers to collect the data and address the barriers that mean people from minority backgrounds were less likely to report their ethnic origin, for fear of being discriminated against. The latest report, commissioned by the organisation Business in the Community, also highlighted how one in four BAME members of staff reported experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace. The survey was based on 108 companies in the UK, which between them employ more than 32,000 BAME staff.

She said:

‘At present, the burden is on the victim first to come forward and have the courage to report it and then to provide all the evidence. ‘There is such a high threshold for the evidence. ‘Employers need to carry out anonymous surveys. ‘Much of the bullying in workplaces is not as obvious, it involves peoples work not being valued, or receiving less remuneration and being overlooked for promotions.’

Main image copyright: iStockphoto

Written by: Basit Mahmood

First published 02.10.19:

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