Calls to strengthen diversity pay reporting

MPs are keen to see more action on gender, ethnicity and executive pay reporting according to a survey by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) which found widespread support for tougher regulation, and is calling for more reporting on action plans to reduce imbalance

A YouGov poll commissioned by AAT revealed that more than two thirds of MPs (69%) believe that new gender, ethnicity and executive pay ratio reporting requirements are ‘a good start in tackling pay reported problems but much more needs to be done.’

This figure of 69% breaks down to almost a quarter of MPs (23%) strongly agreeing with this statement whilst a further 46% agreed. In contrast, 13% of MPs either disagreed or strongly disagreed, with 3% stating they ‘don’t know’.

Phil Hall, AAT head of public affairs and public policy, said: ‘Thankfully, most people now accept the rationale for gender, ethnicity and executive pay reporting but there is broad recognition that these new requirements do not go far enough.

‘It is good to know that MPs are similarly minded, with more than two thirds now stating much more needs to be done. However, recognising the problem and dealing with it are two very different matters.’

Last year, new gender pay gap reporting requirements were introduced to oblige all employers with more than 250 employees to publish their figures comparing men and women’s average pay across their organisation.

Earlier this month, regulations came into effect which require all listed companies employing more than 250 employees to report their executive pay ratio (the difference between the pay of the chief executive and the pay of the median employee) from 2020 onwards.

Last week the government finished consulting on new ethnicity pay gap reporting requirements which will require companies to report their ethnicity pay gap data, although precisely what data and how it is reported remains undecided.

Asked what further action AAT would like to see, Hall said: ‘We need to see anomalies, loopholes and unintended consequences dealt with and a wider recognition that simply reporting on a problem, whilst helping to shine a light on issues, is very different from resolving those issues - reporting requirements are not an end in themselves.

‘Companies should be compelled to publish action plans for addressing pay disparities rather than the current voluntary system; there should be much clearer and tougher sanctions for non-compliance; and given companies employing more than 250 employees account for a mere 1% of UK businesses, reducing the reporting thresholds to companies employing more than 50 members of staff would have a much bigger impact on tackling divisive pay issues across the country.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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