Public bodies should publish data on their ethnicity pay gaps to help tackle racism, a committee of MSPs has said.
Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee has been investigating what actions are being taken to make sure black and minority ethnic communities have parity in employment and career progression.
A report from the committee warned there has been a “lack of progress” on the issue despite various initiatives and that minority communities are suffering from “consultation fatigue”.
It makes a number of recommendations, including more “positive actions” to address under-representation and new regulations which compel public bodies to publish ethnicity pay data.
Committee convener Ruth Maguire said: “The inquiry heard evidence that unemployment and in-work poverty remains disproportionately higher for people from minority ethnic communities than it is in the majority of the population.
“We are seriously concerned by the lack of progress in tackling this issue.
“It is extremely disappointing and frustrating that we regularly have to revisit this issue, and it’s little wonder that during our inquiry we heard many witnesses and representatives of black and minority ethnic communities refer to ‘consultation fatigue.”‘
Many employers were “looking outwards rather than inwards” and failing to tackle cultures of institutional racism, they said.
Ms Maguire added: “The committee is unanimously of the view that, despite all the mechanisms at the disposal of public authorities, including their equality duties and responsibilities, the ethnicity employment gap remains unacceptable and much more needs to be done to reduce the ethnicity pay gap, so we see more minority ethnic people in senior positions.
“Leaders of public authorities need to be accountable for their organisations’ record on employment of ethnic minority people.
“They must demonstrate leadership in this area. Now is the time for them to take concerted, definitive action.
“To address the lack of progress to date and decades of damage, our report recommends that public sector employers prioritise employment from minority ethnic communities within their strategic plans.
“We also recommend the Scottish Government regulates to ensure public authorities publish their ethnicity pay gap figures and set out actions to deliver improvements within an agreed timeframe.
“We sincerely hope that our successor committee will not have to revisit this subject, unless it is to reflect on the result of positive action, accountability, and eradication of institutional racism in Scotland.”
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