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#EthnicityPayGap - A How to Guide for Allies

January 8th is #EthnicityPayGap day. It’s a time to recognise what drives the society we live in; in which we raise our children, work and grow old in. It highlights the intersection of money and power as drivers of systemic inequalities. It recognises the world we inhabit was made by and for rich, white, hetero-normative, able-bodied males and changing that will require a shift of assets, and the focus is equal pay on grounds of ethnicity. It’s not about posting platitudes, and here’s the how to guide if you’re unsure where to start.

“What makes a difference is collective voices”
Dianne Greyson PGCert HR Mngmt, Acred Mediator, CEP, Business Culture Review, 2018

What is the #EthnicityPayGap?

Simply, the ethnicity pay gap shows the difference in the average pay between staff from minority ethnic backgrounds in the workforce, compared to white staff.

#EthnicityPayGap reporting is not a statutory requirement, despite evidence from statutory gender pay gap reporting acting as a catalyst for organisations to address it. To make this worse, the ethnicity pay gap is often widest between white women and women of colour.

Why does it matter?

Reporting an #EthnicityPayGap voluntarily demonstrates an organisation’s understanding and transparency of how they value people, how they overcome challenges, implement change and hold themselves accountable. The simple act of addressing the subject demonstrates how much they understand the demographics of their workforce within wider society and how they can use that knowledge to increase wellbeing, productivity and ultimately, market reach, consumer satisfaction and community cohesion.

NB: If an organisation reflects zero diversity, that is also worth reporting. The best organisations I've worked with recognise homogeneous teams are a risk. Name it, record it, commit to changing it and DO IT!

How can I make a difference?

STEP ONE: Increase your knowledge - fact find for your organisation (30 mins)

Knowledge is power. Money helps, but given deep rooted pay inequalities, knowledge comes in as a close second as a catalyst for change.

So, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, and do some research.

Hannah Litt constantly informs and inspires with her content. Her first post this year;

In 2023 please don’t forget…Google is still free. Hannah Litt

TIP: Your research should be free from emotion. If you find yourself in a rabbit hole of people saying 'poor white boys have never been so at risk', please remember that equality is not pie - it does not take from one disadvantaged group to give to another. Equal rights help everybody. Take weekend, holiday, sick and parental pay, for example. Equal pay on grounds of ethnicity is no different. So, if you find yourself triggered by anything you find, pause and recognise the emotion. Reflect on why you’re having a reaction to what you've found and know that the only thing that could be considered wrong at this point is to do nothing in the knowledge that currently, the #EthnicityPayGap is real, it hurts people and it can be addressed. Only your apathy will maintain the status quo.

So, make yourself a nice drink, set the timer for 30 minutes and get to work: Here’s a good place to start;

  1. Does your organisation report an #EthnicityPayGap already?

  2. If so, what it your organisation's #EthnicityPayGap and what are they doing to address it? Do they say it publicly? If so, offer support and assistance in achieving it - so they know their staff are aware and await impact.

  3. If there is no #EthnicityPayGap report, who would you raise this with? All teams will be impacted, so please don’t limit your list of queries to Human Resources. This is equally relevant for all areas of leadership, finance, operations and risk as it is to recruitment and retainment.

  4. What are the demographics of your industry and how does your organisation's demography and #EthnicityPayGap (if there is one) compare?

  5. How might the #EthnicityPayGap impact your organisation?

  6. How might the #EthnicityPayGap impact your consumers?

  7. How does the #EthnicityPayGap impact your community?

Once you've got your research, pat yourself of the back and move onto step two.

STEP TWO: Increase your knowledge - listen to the experts (10 minutes to connect, unlimited learning)

As allies, there’s a gulf between apathy and acting as a white saviour. As white people, we cannot and will not successfully navigate and dismantle racisms without working together. We must listen intently to those who live racisms, promote their voices and advocate for their leadership in creating change and offer our support. My go-to list of people to follow, listen to and then listen some more are listed below, but I'd gladly add to this over the year - please let me know your recommendations!

Dianne Greyson PGCert HR Mngmt, Acred Mediator, CEP Greyson; the leading voice on all things #EthnicityPayGapDr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu; for all things tied to systemic inequalitiesShereen Daniels 🇬🇧🇯🇲🇬🇾; leadership and anti-black racismJohn Amaechi OBE; leadership and intersection (homophobia)Lee Chambers; Wellbeing in the workplaceHannah Litt; leadership and intersection (neurodiversity and religion)Sal Naseem; systemic challenges and religionWayne Reid; social care and public servicesDr Loreen Chikwira - healthcare and academia

STEP THREE: Seek accountability - as staff (30 mins and follow up)

Recruitment and retention is an investment from the firm in getting the right people to do the right jobs for the right results for the right price. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the long term viability of any organisation hinges upon it’s people, and when those people are diverse, organisations perform better. More importantly; it’s the right thing to do.

So, as an ally here’s what you can do:

  1. If you can’t find an #EthnicityPayGap report on your company website, reach out to your Exec team. Use their Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging statements to highlight that sharing an #EthnicityPayGap report would help demonstrate a shift from warm words on websites to tangible outputs - measures to which goals can be set and achieved. Let me know if you'd like a template, I can link one here.

  2. If your organisation reports an #EthnicityPayGap: what outcomes you can expect to see when the organisation succeeds in closing the gap? If SMART goals aren’t clear, why not? Are there other areas of the business where commitment to making a difference doesn’t measure starting points, set goals and measure progress? Let's learn to recognise platitudes and call them out when we see them.

  3. If your organisation already has Employee Support groups, reach out to your anti-racism group and offer your support. Respect that an offer of support is given freely without expectation of acceptance.

  4. If your organisation's size limits possibilities for Employee Support Groups, consider volunteering what you've learnt in steps one and two to support your colleague’s and organisation's knowledge to your Exec team. Ensure you draw from your fact finding and advocate for the experts!

STEP FOUR: Seek accountability - as consumers (Ad hoc - 5 mins)

If an organisation posts their support for anti-racism, but doesn’t report on their workforce breakdown by ethnicity and financial reward, do their warm words on websites match their commitment to change? It only takes a moment to look it up and needn’t be confrontational; a simple message in response saying ‘I can’t find your #EthnicityPayGap report. Pls can you outline how you will address inequalities for your staff and our community?”

Make sure you use the #EthnicityPayGap hashtag!

STEP FIVE: Support the #EthnicityPayGap campaign - (15 mins)

It couldn’t be simpler;

  1. Visit the website;

  2. Buy the t-shirt and mug Take a selfie and post it with the hashtag: #EthnicityPayGap and your…

  3. …FREE: Downloadable pledge of support

  4. FREE: Lobby your MP.

For £20 and roughly 15 minutes of your time, you can make a very real, tangible difference.

You can keep your support for the #EthnicityPayGap campaign going by liking, sharing and commenting on the hashtag to raise awareness on all social media platforms. If you find articles linked to the subject, share them with the #EthnicityPayGap hashtag to ensure other allies can learn too.

This is just a summary of some of the things I have and will continue to do to ensure I raise my children in a fairer society and kinder community. Please let me know if you think I can add, edit or improve this though - allyship is a work in progress and can only improve with feedback.

Whatever you do, do something. The old excuses are redundant.

“You always told me it takes time. it’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time. my uncle’s time, my brother’s and my sister’s time. My niece’s and my nephew’s time. How much time do you want for your progress”
James Baldwin, 1979
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