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Firms could be forced to reveal gap in ethnic pay

LARGE employers could soon be made to reveal their ‘ethnicity pay gap’ under proposals announced by Theresa May.

The prime minister’s plan to tackle the disparity follows similar rules that came in last year forcing firms to reveal the difference in wages between men and women, which stood at an average of 18.4 per cent.

Mrs May said: ‘Too often ethnic minority employees feel they’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression. Our focus is on making sure the UK’s organisations, boardrooms and senior management teams are truly reflective of the workplaces they manage.’

She is also expected to back moves by public bodies, such as the NHS, armed forces, schools and police, to increase recruitment of ethnic minority leaders.

Other measures to tackle ‘ethnic disparities in the workplace’ include increasing diversity in prison officers, backing education schemes for ethnic minority lawyers and targeting employment support in 20 areas to be chosen across the UK.

The consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay reporting, which could be imposed on companies employing at least 250 people, will run until January.

In March, a report by the Greater London Authority found an ethnicity pay gap of up to 37 per cent among workers in public services such as the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London.

The Confederation of British Industry gave a cautious welcome to the plans.

Chief UK policy director Matthew Fell said: ‘Transparency can be a catalyst for action in tackling the ethnicity pay gap, in the same way that it has been so successful for gender.’

But he added: ‘Reporting must be done in a way that is supported by both businesses and employees.’