Sodexo UK has voluntarily published its ethnicity pay gap data for 2020, making it the first company in the hospitality industry to do so, reporting a mean ethnicity pay gap of 5%.
The report included pay gap data for three different ethnic groups: Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnic backgrounds, in recognition that publishing the combined pay data for these groups may hide disparities between them.
Over the past year Sodexo has created a strategic taskforce made up of senior leaders from Black and other ethnic backgrounds to lead company-wide change programmes, one of which has been the launch of its Be Heard series of listening groups. Developed specifically for Black colleagues to share their lived experiences of working at Sodexo, the first series has resulted in action plans developed for each of its business segments.
With regards to gender, Sodexo said the impact of the pandemic on business and the requirement from government to exclude furloughed colleagues receiving less than their regular full pay from the data resulted in a slight increase in its mean gender pay gap, from 14.12% in 2019 to 14.36% in 2020.
Sean Haley, region chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: "We feel strongly that the first steps towards achieving our diversity and inclusion goals are transparency and holding ourselves publicly accountable.
"There is a lot of work to do to improve parity in both gender and ethnicity, but only with this level of clarity and the impetus to have more open conversations, can we put measures in place to move our organisation in the right direction and to do better by our colleagues and the communities in which we operate."
Sodexo's action plan for the UK & Ireland included:
- Establishing targets to increase ethnicity representation in senior leadership positions.
- Achieving 43% (currently 37%) representation of women in senior leadership by 2025.
- Reducing the mean gender pay gap across all legal entities combined to 10% or less by 2025.
- Creating more sponsorship and development programmes for females and unrepresented ethnic groups.
- Undertaking a diagnostic review into attraction and progression strategies.
- Conduct an employee census to increase its ethnicity data, and improve the quality of the data held.
"Businesses need to function as agents of change by paving the way for inclusivity, and policies and practices which entrench inclusion must be implemented across all levels of an organisation," said Suki Sandhu, founder and chief executive of INvolve – the Inclusion People.
"Examining and reporting on the ethnicity pay gap is an essential step in this process and allows businesses who choose to report to better understand the challenges, cement sustainable long-term goals and take responsibility for driving change."
Tea Colaianni, WiHTL founder and chair, added: "Disclosing the data is an important sign of leaders being committed to transparency and accountability. Even more crucial is taking action on what the data tells you."