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Articles and opinion

Lexis Nexis has published its Market Tracker Trend Report ‘Ethnicity in Corporate Governance Reporting 2020’ and Rosalyn Breedy has contributed insight alongside colleagues from Wedlake Bell Richard Isham and Laura Conway.

The report examines current recommendations and guidelines for companies in relation to ethnic diversity reporting in the UK.

On setting measurable objectives regarding ethnicity across the wider workforce, Rosalyn warns how public companies risk disinvestment if they fail to address the issue of fair treatment for ethnic minorities seriously.

“The more reporting can be made consistent and clear the better. Perhaps companies could be given feedback by auditors and one standards body tasked with developing the standard and monitoring compliance. Such an approach would help companies to be more focused on the work they need to do and to be more confident in being transparent. Also, maybe company auditors should be asked to play a larger role in monitoring progress against objectives as part pf the s172 Companies Act reporting.”

In the section ‘Grappling with definitions’, Rosalyn and Richard Isham, head of employment at Wedlake Bell, respond to some key questions on language. When asked if it is possible to give clear definitions of ‘director of colour’ or ‘ethnicity’, Rosalyn says:

“Language evolves and no one person or organisation can be the judge of the meaning of a word – even dictionaries have different definitions. There are many useful guides such as the Diversity Style Guide, but it is important that people within the organisation are comfortable with their choice of language and that they keep it under review as things evolve.”

Laura Conway, Senior Associate at Wedlake Bell also contributed advice on how to take positive action to increase diversity across your organisation:

“Lots of employers are focusing on using recruiters who draw from a diverse pool of candidates, but arguably industry leaders have a responsibility to grow a diverse talent pool. We often find the approach is not joined up between the board, HR, diversity and inclusion teams and managers. Firms should consider a task force.”

Anthony Horrigan, Chief Executive Officer at Spktral sets out ‘Eight steps to successful ethnicity pay gap analysis’. He highlights:

“Ethnicity pay gap analysis is an integral part of your diversity and inclusion strategy and for it to be successful, it needs to be viewed as a major change programme that’s led from the top with the affects cascading down through the organisation.”

The report also provides best practice guidance ahead of the upcoming target deadline set by the Parker Review for FTSE 100 companies to have at least one ethnic minority director on the board by the end of 2021. It includes advice on:

  • ethnic diversity targets and reporting requirements;
  • measuring progress against initiatives and setting targets;
  • championing ethnic diversity in recruitment; and
  • progress reporting to meet the Parker Review target.

Click here to download Ethnicity in Corporate Governance Reporting 2020.