By Nancy Doyle
Last month I spoke about the need for transparency and called for more companies to start reporting on their ethnicity pay gap. Friday 8th January was Ethnicity Pay Gap Day (EPGD), a campaign that aims to encourage businesses to review their rates of pay through a lens of race and ethnicity and commit to addressing any inequalities they might find.
Synergised Solutions Ltd where EPGD founder Dianne Greyson is a Managing Partner kicked off the event with showcased reporting from the private sector (PWC) Public Sector (Railway Delivery Group) and Charitable sectors (Inclusion Versus Arthritis) who publicly explored their Ethnicity Pay Gaps. The Morning Star commented that this is Britain’s first event of this kind, so a strong and bold move forward in having real discussions about inclusion. Greyson expressed how amazed she was at the support of the day, starting with a UK Sky News interview. She goes on to say “it’s fantastic that this message has gained such momentum with both major companies and individuals who are committed to driving it forward and having tough conversations.”
Greyson told me that some of the high points of the day included her letter to the government and London Mayor Sadiq Khan being shared widely and support from her local politicians. Greyson gave praise to all of the supports of the Ethnicity Pay Gap campaign who changed their profile pictures to images of them wearing shirts with the campaign hashtag. She says, “it was a magnificent show of solidarity. I hope Ethnicity Pay Gap Day is seen to be a start of action to ensure mandatory reporting of the Ethnicity Pay Gap is put on the government agenda as soon as possible.”
So, in support of EPGD and Dianne Greyson’s work, in the name of practicing what we preach and putting our money where our mouth is, my own SME have published our own EPGD review online. I thought it might be useful to look at what we have learned.
What Works In Reducing Ethnicity Pay Gaps?
We were pleased to discover that there was no systemic underpayment within job level by ethnicity or race within our organization. However, this was not a surprise as we operate a transparent pay scale policy at Genius Within. All employees are aware of the pay bands for each role, and we issue guidance on starting salaries within the bands dependent on experience and qualifications. I highly recommend this! On the downside we have had to confront the fact that a lack of representation at senior management level has still resulted in an ethnicity pay gap within our business overall. So, here’s my current plan to fix the problem.
1. Mentoring Talent. We’re lucky in my company to have a number of talented employees and junior managers. We’ve got mentoring and professional development plans in place to support this next cohort of leaders into fulfilling their potential. We’re sponsoring PhDs, Master’s degrees and Bachelor’s degrees. We’re ensuring that special projects, which give them the chance to develop strategic thinking and independence are shared equally.
2. Deep Dives on Detail. In hiring, we’ve worked hard on representation and language in adverts, our online presence and where we advertise. CVs are blind reviewed. However, we’re also doing “deep dives” on what happens at the detail level. For example, in a recent recruitment drive, we noticed a big drop off in racial diversity between initial application and completion of a work sample sifting questionnaire stage. Instead of ignoring that data, we had a second opinion review of those who weren’t successful and we’re calling the applicants who didn’t submit to find out what put them off – it might be some wording that we haven’t thought through or a specific skill which isn’t essential and has a tone that we’ve missed.
3. Management Accountability. Making our senior leaders responsible for the diversity in their teams is the best way to make change. If responsibility is bounced between HR, hiring, and supervisors, it’s all too easy to say “we tried” but not actually make the difference. The public transparency statement required to take part in EPGD takes this issue high up everyone’s agenda and holds us to account for our decisions through the year.
Bonus Tip: Leverage Allyship Through Leadership Peer Mentoring
It is essential that systemic issues of inequality be tackled on a large scale and from the top down in businesses but that does not mean that there is nothing that individuals can do. The trend of applying pressure to companies and powerful players to become more ethical and equitable has been growing in the last decade and is driven by a willingness to have difficult conversations and confront uncomfortable facts. The desire to be a good ally and also to work for a company with ethical practices is on the rise and I’m happy to see it. Greyson said that on Friday she was pleased to see employee supporters of the campaign encourage people to have conversations and engage their companies to get them to report their Ethnicity Pay Gap and work towards closing it. Employee activism is on the rise generally, notably in the big tech sector this last year.
Originally posted on Forbes