I have intentionally sat on this article…waiting for the right moment. I think this time has come following a recent webinar hosted by the Diversity Project for the #IAM campaign. The webinar was moderated by Darren Johnson with panellists Marisa Hall, Justin Onuekwusi and Gavin Lewis sparked many thoughts and emotions around how far society has come and how far we still have to go in terms of the diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda. Whilst it may at times feel like D&I is “flavour of the month”, I believe momentum is generatingto change that. With the 2017 introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting, we awoke to some of the realities that exist between men and women on the pay front. This was happening as ESG metrics also had a light shined on them as the investment community began to probe further into what really drives value for stakeholders (not just shareholders) of a company. (Stakeholders include employees, suppliers, investors, regulators, public interest groups and the general public.)
Whilst initially subject to some apprehension as to the results and feared backlash, executives and Boards have found empowerment in knowing about their gender pay gap and gaining empirical evidence to support investment into reducing and eliminating this pay gap. I believe the time has now come for Ethnicity Pay Gap (EPG) reporting to follow suit. It’s actually not that difficult! A recent poll on Ignites Europe around EPG reporting indicated that over 90% of respondents were in favour. A petition of more than 125,000 signatures has also reached Parliament to ensure there is discussion on the topic of mandatory EPG reporting. More generally, there is a real opportunity for companies to report on their efforts in areas such as reverse mentoring and the mechanisms they use to measure a company’s cultural awareness, cross ethnicity employee satisfaction and loyalty. I think the timing is now right (if not a bit overdue!), and hereare a few personal thoughts as to why:
The Big Four in coordination with Bank of America and World Economic Forum released a consultation paper in February 2020 with the aim of creating a common set of core and enhanced metrics that all companies could report against. This comparability is much needed and EPG reporting should be added to this laudable (yet achievable!) list of metrics. But it’s not just about reporting – there are real benefits for companies. Here are just a few:
What I know…
I am white. I am Canadian and British. I feel blessed to have had the parents that I had. I have also spent more than a decade in Latin America and have witnessed the rawness of social and economic inequality. I cannot control any of these facts. However, I am also learning every day. I recognise that the more I know the less I know. I know change begins at a microlevel in each of our lives, our professional and familiar circles. I know I won’t change the world with this article…but if you have read to this point, I hope I have at the very least planted a seed both for: 1) increasing transparency on ethnical pay as one of many steps we as responsible businesses should take; and 2) perhaps provided some food for thought on whateach of us would like our role to be in promoting equality in every sense of the word.
Please feel free to add your thoughts on what other benefits ethnical pay gap and broader corporate culture reporting might bring to us all!
Feature Picture Credit: FreePik