ASOS publishes ethnicity pay gap data for the first time

·3-min read
ASOS online website, seen on a mobile phone (AFP via Getty Images)
ASOS online website, seen on a mobile phone (AFP via Getty Images)

Online fast fashion retailer ASOS has published its ethnicity pay gap data, finding that the median pay of its ethnic minority employees is 5.9 per cent higher than what it pays white workers.

This marks a significant improvement on last year, when its white employees were being paid 15.3 per cent more than ethnic minority workers.

Despite the overall improvement, the retailer reported higher gaps between specific ethnic groups.

On average, black employees are being paid 13.4 per cent less than white colleagues, while those from mixed ethnic backgrounds are being paid 14.1 per cent less than white workers.

ASOS said the single biggest driver of the gaps is an underrepresentation of ethnic minority groups at leadership levels.

As it stands, ethnic minority workers make up 19 per cent of its overall workforce, but only 7 per cent are in leadership positions.

Under the brand’s new diversity targets, it aims to reach 15 per cent ethnic minority representation across its leadership by 2023.

The company also has a significant pay gap between men and women – with women taking home 32.3 per cent less pay than their male counterparts.

ASOS said women are “underrepresented in higher-paid roles”, and that they make up a higher proportion of its entry-level cohort.

Nick Beighton, CEO of ASOS, said publishing its ethnicity pay gap data is a “vital step towards understanding and improving ethnic minority representation” within ASOS, and the wider fashion industry.

“While we have made some significant improvements in some areas over the last 12 months, we know we still have a long way to go. We are using this data to help us lay the foundations of a truly inclusive culture and create a people experience that is like no other.

“It is our belief that our goals and progress should be made public in this way so we can be held accountable. We hope that other businesses commit to doing the same to encourage change across our industry,” he said.

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics on the ethnicity pay gap, published in 2019, found that the median hourly pay for white workers was £12.40 per hour, compared with £12.11 for ethnic minority groups.

In May, Simon Woolley, a former chair of the government’s Race Disparity Unit advisory group, told the BBC he believes it should be mandatory for companies to disclose their ethnicity pay gaps.

While it is compulsory for businesses to share gender pay gaps, publishing information on ethnicity pay gaps is not a legal requirement.

“It is not the silver bullet. But your company will be more vibrant if people are being paid what they’re worth,” he said.

In March, the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities said it was up to employers to decide whether they publish their ethnicity pay gaps.

It said those that choose to do so “should also publish a diagnosis and action plan to lay out the reasons for and the strategy to improve any disparities”.

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