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9th July 2019

Ethnicity Pay Gap in Great Britain

The ONS has recently published its report which presents the first analysis of ethnicity pay gaps in Great Britain using a newly reweighted earnings data from the Annual Population Survey. This allows for a more detailed analysis of ethnicity and pay than was previously possible. The key findings from the analysis highlight:

  • Chinese, Indian and Mixed or Multiple ethnicity all had higher median hourly pay than White British employees in 2018; while employees in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups had the lowest median hourly pay.
  • In 2018, on average, employees from the Chinese ethnic group earned 30.9% more than White British employees; while employees from the Bangladeshi ethnic group, on average, earned 20.2% less than White British employees.
  • The percentage difference in median hourly pay between people of a White ethnicity and all those who belong to an ethnic minority group is largest in London at 21.7%.
  • The existing pay gap between White British and other ethnic groups is generally smaller for younger employees than it is for older employees.
  • The ethnicity pay gap between White British employees and most other ethnic groups narrows once other characteristics such as education and occupation are taken into account, however, some significant gaps still remain, particularly for those born outside of the UK.
  • account, however, some significant gaps still remain, particularly for those born outside of the UK.

With the progress the government has made on getting organisations to report their Gender Pay Gap, it is likely that they will now extend this to Ethnicity Pay Gap reporting. In order for change to happen, organisations need to report on this data and implement plans on how they intend to tackle the ethnicity pay gap. The ONS report illustrates clearly that a simple White/BAME comparison masks large variations between ethnic groups, but even at a macro level moving beyond a 10-category ethnicity breakdown was not possible because of small sample sizes. 

To start this process, it’s important that organisations build an atmosphere of trust; with data protection issues in the spotlight with the implementation of the GDPR, it is crucial that employers allay employee concerns about why and how personal data collected for monitoring purposes is used. Employers should be transparent and use monitoring to check how well their equality policy is working; analyse the effect of their policies and practices on different groups; and highlight possible inequalities and investigate their underlying causes.