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Yorkshire Water publishes ethnic pay gap

Yorkshire Water has revealed that its mean ethnic pay gap is 3 per cent and, after becoming one of the first companies in the county to publish, has encouraged others to follow suit.

The firm has announced its commitment to being one of the most transparent companies not just in the water sector but throughout the country and earlier this year revealed it was going to release the majority of its operational data by 2020.

The ethnic pay gap figure appears in the company’s first workforce diversity report. In addition to the figure for Yorkshire Water, the report also includes the pay gap for its customer service business Loop, which is 6.6 per cent.

The combined mean ethnic pay gap for the two businesses is 17.9 per cent and the median is 27.6 per cent due to the size populations in each organisation and the difference in salaries.

As well as the pay gap figures, the report shows how the workforce breaks down at all levels by gender and ethnicity. It also details differential recruitment and promotion performance across both these dimensions. The company has also published a limited amount of data relating to disability in the workforce.

In the report, it recognises that although its data on gender is comprehensive, information on ethnicity and disability is less complete as a number of colleagues at the company have chosen not to disclose.

The report mostly shows data tables without a narrative or explanation as Yorkshire Water said it wants to let the data speak for itself and then enter into an open dialogue with its colleagues in the business, the communities from whom its workforce is derived and with other stakeholders.

The company is also looking at releasing its disability pay gap in the future and, although chief executive Richard Flint is pleased that Yorkshire Water has taken a lead, he admits there is still more to be done.

“We made a commitment to take a leading position on openness and transparency and this report is an important part of that commitment,” he said.

“We intend to have an open dialogue with other large employers, such as local authorities, so that we can align our efforts to improve the diversity of our workforce with theirs and ensure we are working collaboratively.

“However, we know we must not rest on our laurels. We currently have no data on any of the other protected grounds such as religion and belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership or pregnancy and maternity.”

To improve, Yorkshire Water will work on the completeness of its data and will launch a plan to raise awareness of the importance of self-declaration among its colleagues and will engage with them so that they will do so confidently and safely.

The company will also be making use of data analytics tools that can help it to provide some of the missing ethnic profile data.

Flint added: “Our priority is to substantially improve our data so that next year’s report shows an even more comprehensive picture. At the very least we would expect to show comprehensive disability data and also calculate our disability pay gap once the level of available data makes that a meaningful statistic. We will progressively extend that coverage, in line with improved self-declaration until we cover all the protected grounds.”

MP Rachel Reeves said: “I’m encouraged by Yorkshire Water’s decision to be open and publish their ethnic pay gap statistics. This approach will lead to honest conversations and, I am sure, positive changes. I am hoping other companies not just in Yorkshire but around the country follow suit.”

Author: Robin Hackett, Deputy Editor, WWT and WET News
Topic: Policy & Regulation
Tags: Yorkshire Water , Richard Flint , diversity , workforce , gender , Data

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