Employers complain that they can’t collect ethnicity data

More than half of employers feel they face barriers when collecting ethnicity data, which means they could face problems calculating their pay gap. According to an Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report a third of businesses felt collecting ethnicity data was “too intrusive”, while a quarter thought “employees did not want to share the information”.

The report revealed that just 3% of UK employers analyse pay data to explore any differences by ethnic group. While three-quarters of employers said workforce diversity was a priority, only 36%  said they kept data on ethnicity. Of those who collected data on staff pay, less than a quarter of employers said it could easily be broken down by ethnicity.

Data protection issues have recently been in the spotlight with the implementation of the GDPR, and 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.

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