Ethnic disparities in the UK could widen as the cost of living crisis deepens, a campaign group has warned, as it renews its call for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.
People Like Us, a non-profit group that pushes for increased diversity in the media and communications sector, found that people with diverse ethnic backgrounds are finding it more difficult to keep up with rising costs, with many fearing redundancy as organisations’ costs rise.
It has repeated its call for companies to disclose their ethnicity pay gap. Earlier this year it found that people from an ethnic minority background were paid on average 84% of what their white counterparts earn, while 67% of ethnic minority workers felt that white colleagues doing the same job were on a higher salary.
The government has said ethnicity pay gap reporting would not be compulsory as there were “significant” barriers to collecting data that would allow for meaningful comparisons to be made. Groups including Business in the Community and MPs on the Women and Equalities Committee have called for it to rethink this decision.
Almost half (46%) of workers surveyed by People Like Us backed mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting, while only 16% opposed it.
Ethnicity pay gaps and racism
Co-founder Sheeraz Gulsher said: “We need to make businesses accountable for their pay disparities. Mandatory gender pay gap reporting has started to get the wheels in motion to begin to address the balance between men and women, and we are now calling for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting to do the same on the grounds of race.
“It’s a positive step forward to have our first Asian prime minister in place, but with that change comes an increasingly stark reality that the broader community aren’t afforded the same assurances in terms of being guaranteed equal pay in their roles.
“We want to urge the new prime minister to take the initiative and introduce ethnicity pay gap bill without delay. This will start to address a fundamental imbalance, tackle a critical policy issue and ensure career progression and ambition is truly accessible for ethnic minority workers working in every department of UK PLC.”
The petition page says: “Research shows workers from ethnically diverse backgrounds are nearly twice as likely to have been told they won’t be getting a promised pay rise this year due to inflation. Furthermore, 67% of racially diverse working professionals believe that a white colleague doing the same job is on a higher salary.
“Ethnically diverse workers are more likely to experience stagnant wages and therefore more likely to experience economic hardship.”
A Censuswide survey of more than 2,000 people for People Like Us found that 41% of professionals from ethnic minority backgrounds are worried they could lose their job as costs increase, compared to just 27% of their white colleagues.
Ethnic minority professionals were having to dip into their savings at a faster rate than their white counterparts, with the value of ethnic minority workers’ savings falling 16% compared with last year (down 13% among white professionals).
Nearly a third of those from ethnic minority groups were having to borrow money from friends or family, (21% of white British workers), and 35% were struggling to afford their commute (23% of white British).
Dianne Greyson, founder of the #EthnicityPayGap Campaign said the government needs provide evidence of a strategy to close the ethnicity pay gap.
“The Ethnicity Pay Gap cannot be allowed to continue. The government must listen and take action and work with organisations such as #EthnicityPayGap Campaign and People Like Us to deliver a clear and actionable strategy,” she said.