Racial pay gap stats will not solve Britain's prejudice problems

Following the announcement of a review to force companies to reveal difference in pay between different ethnic groups, Matt Kilcoyne of free market think tank the Adam Smith Institute, says that it does little reflect Britain’s changing demographics, does not tackle remaining structural barriers to success, and shows a lack of understanding of the costs of prejudice on large firms:

“Few would deny that those from ethnic minority backgrounds face barriers to success. But we should learn lessons from the gender pay gap debate; crude figures across a whole company mask the different roles that people choose to do and equate CEOs to graduate schemers.

“Racial pay gap reporting won't explain the demographic changes that Britain has undergone. The older you are, the more likely you hold a higher position in a company. And older generations are more likely to be white. Migrants may face natural barriers to success from language, and illegitimate barriers from occupational licensing and discrimination. These figures will mask the complex causes of racial inequality and be used to sour relations between Britons.

“Rather than engaging with the hard task of removing structural barriers to opportunity many still face, this headline-grabbing measure will simply increase costs on businesses that already know the price of discrimination. Companies that deny themselves talent based on skin colour hit their bottom line, and they know the reputational risk of failing to tackle prejudice.”

To arrange further comment or an interview please contact Matt Kilcoyne via mobile (07584778207), office phone (02072224995), or email (matt@adamsmith.org).