Milton Keynes College has committed to releasing figures describing the pay gap which exists within the organisation on ethnic grounds. The decision comes as part of wider commitments which the College has agreed to by becoming a signatory to the Race at Work Charter.
The Charter pledges organisations to five specific calls to action:
- To appoint an executive manager for race
- To capture data on ethnicity in the organisation and publish it
- To commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
- To ensure all managers understand that actively supporting equality in the workplace is part of their job
- To take positive action to support the careers of people from ethnic minorities
The College recently appointed Arv Kaushal as Manager for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. He says publishing pay gap figures is vital. “It’s one thing for an organisation to believe in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion but it’s quite another to actually do something to improve the situation. If people from the same backgrounds keep getting promoted to the detriment of other groups you need to first work out why it’s happening before you can change it. The only way to do that is by analysing the data which takes time and effort. By committing to the Race at Work Charter we are putting ourselves in a position where we have to do the work, and that’s really the whole point of joining.”
Milton Keynes is one of only a handful of Further Education Colleges across the country to have signed up to the charter, which has also been committed to by government agencies and a number of large corporations.
Arv says, “A lot of businesses are nervous of analysing the data around pay and publishing it because they know it won’t make for pretty reading but I would strongly encourage them to overcome their fears. Recognising the size of the problem is an important first step to working out how to make things better so I would applaud anyone who has the courage to take that good, hard look at themselves and their work processes.”
According to information gleaned by the Office for National Statistics using its Annual Population Survey there are stark differences in the ethnicity pay gap around the country. The worst figures are in London where white British workers are paid more than 23% higher wages than people from other ethnic groups. In the south east region which includes Milton Keynes, the figure is a little under 6%, which is one of the lowest in the country.
Sandra Kerr CBE is Race Equality Director at Business in the Community, the organisation behind the Charter. She says, “In the Race at Work Charter 2020 report we called for more organisations from the education sector to sign the Race at Work Charter. I want to commend Milton Keynes College for signing the Charter. The Race at Work Charter has now been signed by more than 560 employers from almost every sector in the UK. It is vitally important that professional educators who influence talent who will be, and in some instances, already are part of the workplace, demonstrate their clear commitment to promote race equality and inclusion inside and outside of their learning institutions. It is great that Milton Keynes College has demonstrated their leadership and commitment by adding their signature to the Race at Work Charter.”
Dr Julie Mills OBE, CEO & Group Principal at the College says, “I am delighted that we have signed the Race at Work Charter, cementing our commitment to ensuring our College is representative of our whole community. Colleges make such a difference to the lives of so many students and the recent FE governmental White Paper shows the need to continue to elevate this to become beacons of best practise and influence within our wider community. Today represents another step towards our own accountability and we hope to learn and help create change.”