More must be done to tackle racism and discrimination in the UK

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published its report and conclusions at the end of March 2021. Following our initial response, the CIPD has carefully analysed the findings and conclude that the report fails to reflect evidence and undermines efforts to tackle racism and discrimination in the UK

The CIPD is disappointed with the conclusions of the report, with many of the recommendations falling short of what is required to tackle inequality in the workplace.

The report has also been a missed opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the extent of structural and institutional racism that exists in the UK today. Institutional racism remains a significant problem when it comes to employment and progression at work. Much stronger action is needed to drive change and build upon the progress that has already been made.

Ethnicity pay reporting

The Commission failed to recommend making ethnicity pay reporting compulsory, instead recommending a voluntary approach. Significant progress could be made if organisations were mandated to analyse and publish ethnicity pay data, as this drives accountability thereby improving progress. As one of the few levers available to assess inequalities relating to ethnicity at work, we urge the Government to reconsider this decision. Ethnicity pay data is and will continue to be critical in addressing racial equality in the workplace, and it’s therefore extremely disappointing that the Commission have failed to recognise this.

To encourage employers to report on pay by ethnicity, we’ll be publishing guidance. In the meantime, our webinar explores the need for transparent ethnicity pay reporting and offers tips on how organisations can best collect, analyse and use employee ethnicity data.

Racial equality and discrimination

The issues of racial equality and discrimination are very complex. Various factors including geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion can also impact people’s life chances in different ways. The CIPD agrees with the conclusions the Commission drew on this and understand the challenges that can exist. However, the influence of other factors should not distract from the reality of people being treated unfairly due to their race or ethnicity. There needs to be a concerted effort to address regional inequality and to improve social mobility. The CIPD is committed to supporting this, working with the Government to drive change and where necessary challenging the Government to go further.

CIPD Chief Executive, Peter Cheese said:

‘Organisations must be part of the change, to step up and stamp out prejudice, and to build diverse and supportive cultures based on respect and fairness for all. Our members have told us that they want to do more to support their employees, to challenge systematic racism in the workplace, to recognise that more work needs to be done and to report in a fair and transparent way.’

‘We’ve long been calling for ethnicity pay reporting to be mandatory. We know from previous experiences and evidence with gender pay reporting, that unless required by law, too few organisations will feel compelled to report on a voluntary basis.’

‘Ethnicity pay reporting can provide vital data, helping to identify disparities in the employment and progression opportunities of those from ethnic minority backgrounds, as well as highlighting where action should be taken.’

‘We must keep this conversation going, but more importantly we must see action. This action must come from across the spectrum – from government, from organisations, from communities and individuals. The CIPD is committed to being part of that change and supporting the people profession to tackle racism and racial discrimination in the workplace.’

Read the CIPD’s full conclusions and analysis of the report here.

Top