The UK’s equalities watchdog has published a report calling for mandatory pay gap reporting on staff recruitment, retention and promotion by ethnicity and disability.

The report entitled “Measuring and reporting on disability and ethnicity pay gaps” argues that, just as employers with 250 or more employees have to report on their gender pay gaps, they should also be required to do so with regard to ethnicity and disability.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) points out in its research that, as most employers fail to collect this data or do so inconsistently, they are not in a position to tackle and remove the barriers to the progression and representation of disabled and ethnic minority staff in the workplace.

Although just over although three quarters of employers (77 per cent) said that ensuring workforce diversity was a priority for their organisation, the research found that:

  • less than half (44 per cent) record or collect data on whether employees are disabled or not
  • only one-third (36 per cent) record or collect data on employee ethnicity
  • just under a quarter (23 per cent) collect data on staff pay and progression that can be broken down by ethnicity and disabled and non-disabled staff
  • only three per cent of organisations actually analyse this data to explore differences in pay and progression between different ethnicities and disabled and non-disabled staff 


Just over half of employers in the survey said that they faced barriers to collecting this data – for instance, because it was too intrusive and onerous. The research also found that employers tended to use binary categories such as white/BAME and disabled/non-disabled, which disguises vast differences between pay gaps for different ethnic minority groups or for people with different impairments. For example, Bangladeshi men born in the UK experience a 26 per cent pay gap compared with white British men.

The EHRC has recommended that it should be a legal requirement by April 2020 for employers with over 250 employees to monitor and report on ethnicity and disability in recruitment, retention and progression and publish a narrative and action plan alongside their data explaining why pay gaps are present and what they will do to close them.

Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors commented: “It is astonishing that while 77% of employers say workforce diversity is a priority, just 3% of organisations measure ethnicity or disability pay gaps in the workplace.  If employers are truly committed to a diverse workforce and removing the barriers faced by workers with a disability and Black Asian and ethnic minority workers, they should welcome the EHRC’s proposals instead of looking for excuses not to collect this data.”

To read the report in full, go to the Equality Human Rights website.