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Average pay and bonuses for black employees at Lloyds Banking Group are significantly lower than what their white colleagues receive, new ethnicity pay gap data voluntarily published by the organisation has revealed.
The mean pay gap and bonus gap was widest for black employees at the high street lender, at 16.7% and 52.9% respectively.
The mean pay gap faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues as a whole was 6.8%, while the BAME bonus gap was 26.3%.
Asian employees still faced a pay penalty, but this was much narrower than that experienced by black staff, at 7.2%; the bonus gap was 25.5%.
Lloyds Banking Group put its ethnicity pay and gaps down to low representation of ethnic minority groups at senior levels and said ethnic minority staff are not paid less than white colleagues at any individual grade.
Group chief executive, António Horta-Osório said: “Listening to our colleagues and looking at our data, we recognise that specific groups face difficult and often nuanced challenges in being themselves at work. Our black colleagues remain significantly under-represented at all levels, accounting for just 1.5% of our total workforce and 0.6% of our senior management.
“That’s not good enough; and it’s why we have resolved to take action. We want to be clear that we are an anti-racist organisation – one where all employees speak up, challenge, and act to take an active stance against racism. In doing so, our colleagues will help break down the barriers preventing people from meeting their full potential.”
It set a target of reaching at least 3% black representation in senior roles by 2025, which it said would enable it to close its pay gap.
Professor Binna Kandola, business psychologist and co-founder of Pearn Kandola, commented: “We keep hearing from companies that the race pay gap is driven by the higher number of non-BAME employees in senior, better paid roles. The problem here is that this suggests that people are in fact being paid the same, regardless of race. Minority and majority staff simply happen to be doing different jobs – and so it’s nothing to do with racism. This complacent theory forces us to ask another question: why are the majority of BAME people not achieving the same opportunities as their white colleagues?
“Considering that the majority of senior roles are filled by white people, this would suggest that white staff are given preferential treatment and are able to climb the ladder more quickly. For example, research has shown that minorities are less likely to be given timely and accurate performance feedback by managers. This happens partly because managers are wary of giving negative feedback for fear of being accused of discrimination. But it might also reflect a lack of concern about improving the person’s performance and developing them further.
“To solve the problem of the race pay gap, we must address the lack of opportunity for BAME people to advance to more senior positions. Performance evaluations, career development and line manager support are all crucial ingredients, and the people operating these systems must receive the training and support required to conduct these processes with career and accuracy.”
The publication of the data coincided with the launch of its Black Business Advisory Committee, chaired by business psychologist and social entrepreneur Claudine Reid and formed of black business founders, owners and individuals that champion diversity.
The committee will work with Lloyd’s Banking Group’s internal race advisory panel of 23 BAME colleagues and will early next year develop recommendations to enable black-owned businesses to thrive.
Group sustainable business director, Fiona Cannon, added: “We know that creating true cultural and operational change within an organisation as big as Lloyds Banking Group will not happen overnight. We also recognise that we also have a responsibility to do all that we can to ensure the business community is representative of the UK as a whole, which is why we’re looking at how we can better support the black business community.
“The Black Business Advisory Committee will provide us with honest, direct feedback and direction on the steps we can take to address the challenges faced by the black business community. With these insights, and working together with our partners, we stand ready to support black-owned businesses.
“As we head into 2021 I have a real sense of optimism that we have momentum behind us, we have the plans and processes in place, and perhaps most importantly the unwavering support of our colleagues to get this right.”