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Annual inclusion report 2019-20

A look at the diversity of our workforce

How our diversity is changing

We are not seeing big changes in how our organisation is made up. Benchmarking shows NHS Digital is broadly aligned to the working population nationally, but there are some differences at regional level and in senior grades.

Despite the need for caution around levels of declaration in our data and the ‘lag time’ often associated with projects' intended impact, it appears that our interventions, while extremely meaningful and impactful in terms of advancing awareness and fostering an inclusive culture, haven’t yet translated into significant changes in the diversity of our workforce.

However, we know that creating and sustaining these shifts takes time.

2020 workforce diversity snapshot

Download the data for this chart Gender (sex)
Download the data for this chart Ethnic origin
Download the data for this chart Disability
Download the data for this chart Sexual orientation
Download the data for this chart Age band
Download the data for this chart Marital status
Download the data for this chart Religious belief

Trends by grade

Annex 1 provides the representation data set. When our protected characteristics are broken down by grade the following trends are evident:

 

Download the data for this chart Female representation begins a steady decline from Band 7
Download the data for this chart BAME representation also declines from Band 8A
Download the data for this chart Disabled representation declines from Band 6

Our age profile is not untypical across the grades, but we need to consider how we create more opportunities for talented individuals of all ages to grow, develop and progress.

In addition, regardless of levels of recruitment volume, the data in annex 1 also shows a highly concerning trend in relation to the drop off of BAME and disabled candidates during the recruitment and selection process, which ultimately impacts on diversity of appointments.

Additionally, there's a general lack of diversity within the senior grades which indicates there are barriers to career progression and a limited number of aspirational role models for colleagues in under-represented groups.

Our pay gaps

As previously committed, for the first time this year we are reporting on our pay gaps in 3 categories, gender, ethnicity and disability (annex 2).

Following consultation with the women’s network and the LGBTQ+ network, we have taken the decision, in the first instance internally, to use the term ‘sex pay gap’ instead of ‘gender pay gap’. This is in recognition that many do not feel that the terms male and female should be applied in a binary way to gender.

We are exploring other ways in which we might reflect those with non-binary gender identities, but we currently have some limitations in doing this in our Employee Records System (ESR).

In adopting this language, we hope to encourage a culture in which those with non-binary genders feel included and valued. Gender pay gap is the common term used in the media, so for now we will use that recognised term externally. However, where we have the freedom to do so within our internal reporting, we will adopt the new terminology.

Gender pay gap

Trends

Analysis of the data suggests that there has been more change at the top and bottom of the grade structure and less movement in the middle:

  • our mean gender pay gap, currently 10.5%, has decreased by an average of 2 percentage points since 2017
  • the median pay gap, currently 13.9% has remained more static

Impact

The gender pay gap continues to be impacted by levels of basic pay and the differences in senior representation, followed by allocation of a Recruitment and Retention Premium (RRP) and distribution of on call pay.

10.5% mean pay gap
13.9% median pay gap
Download the data for this chart Gender pay gap trend

Ethnicity pay gap

Trends

Analysis of the data suggests that the gap has increased since 2017 but has levelled off this year:

  • our mean ethnicity pay gap is 7.7%, showing a decrease since 2017
  • the median pay gap is 8.0%, having risen since 2017, but remaining static this year

Impact

The ethnicity pay gap is impacted by levels of basic pay and the differences in senior representation, followed by allocation of RRP and distribution of on call pay. The higher proportion of BAME staff being based in London is reflected in the positive effect London weighting has on the overall pay gap.

7.7% mean pay gap
8.0% median pay gap
Download the data for this chart Ethnicity pay gap trend

Disability pay gap

Trends

Analysis of the data suggests that the gap has increased since 2017 but has levelled off this year:

  • our mean disability pay gap is 7.9%
  • our median pay gap is 5.5%

Impact

The disability pay gap is impacted by basic pay. Notably, the proportion of staff declaring a disability and in receipt of additional pay such as RRP and London weighting and on call pay is much lower than that for non-disabled colleagues, women and BAME ethnicities.

It should also be noted that non-disclosure rates are higher within the more senior pay bands. Low disclosure rates and low representation mean that basic pay is on average lower for disabled colleagues.

7.9% mean pay gap
5.5% median pay gap
Download the data for this chart Disability pay gap trend

A summary of our pay gaps

Gender 

Our mean gender pay gap, currently 10.5%, has decreased by an average of 2 percentage points since 2017. However, the median pay gap, currently 13.9%, has remained more static. This suggests that there has been more change at the top and bottom of the grade structure and less movement in the middle.

Overall, the gender pay gap continues to be impacted most significantly by levels of basic pay and the differences in senior representation, followed by allocation of RRP and distribution of on call pay.

Ethnicity 

Our mean ethnicity pay gap is 7.7%, showing a decrease since 2017. The median pay gap is 8.0%, having risen since 2017 but remaining static this year.

The ethnicity pay gap is impacted most significantly by levels of basic pay and the differences in senior representation, followed by allocation of RRP and distribution of on call pay. The higher proportion of BAME staff being based in London is reflected in the positive effect the London weighting has on the overall pay gap.

Disability 

Our mean disability pay gap is 7.9% and the median pay gap is 5.5%. Both gaps have increased since 2017 but have levelled off this year. The disability pay gap is impacted most significantly by basic pay.

Notably, the proportion of staff declaring a disability and in receipt of additional pay such as RRP and London weighting and on-call is much lower than that for women and BAME ethnicities, which is why this does not factor as a significant impact. It is also useful to note that currently non-disclosure rates are higher within the more senior pay bands.

Challenging questions for our action plan

Do people get ‘stuck’ at certain levels within the organisation?

The analysis indicates that disabled colleagues stay at the top of their band significantly longer than colleagues that have declared they do not have a disability.

Tenure at the top of the band for BAME colleagues shows a different pattern to that of white colleagues. More BAME colleagues spend up to 3 years at the top of the band and significantly fewer spending 4 or more years (31.3% compared with 48.1%).

Slightly more women than men spend one year at the top of their band, but tenure of 2 or more years is broadly similar between the two groups.
 

Is there an imbalance in who gets promoted?

Promotion and acting up rates for disabled and BAME colleagues are lower suggesting that there are barriers to career progression.

There is good representation of women in acting up roles, but this is not being translated into permanent promotions.

Are some groups more likely to be recruited to lower paid roles?

There has been a slight increase in the proportion of disabled staff in the lower pay bands, however overall representation is broadly proportionate across all bands. Attraction and selection of disabled candidates is low and it's notable that there have not been any appointments to senior grades. It should be noted that declaration rates are particularly low for disability, particularly during recruitment.

BAME colleagues are disproportionately over-represented within the lower pay bands, additionally success rates in recruitment are particularly low.

There were fewer women than men appointed to the junior grades.

Do some aspects of pay (bonus/starting salary/additional payments) differ?

Disabled staff are much less likely to be in roles that attract additional pay elements. This is also reflected in our analysis by profession where the pay gap is larger in those professions that offer additional payments, for example technical architecture.

There is a higher proportion of BAME colleagues based in London where they receive a high cost area supplement, which has a positive effect on the pay gap.

Far more men than women are in roles that receive Recruitment Retention Premium (RRP) and on-call premiums, which increases the pay gap.

Do different groups leave at different rates?

Disabled and BAME colleagues left NHS Digital at comparable rates to white and to non-disabled colleagues, respectively.

Taking action to close our pay gaps

The individual pay gap reports in annex 2 contain specific next steps planned for 2021.

There are a number of common themes across each, which relate to equality of opportunity, development, promotion and recruitment. We know that making step change improvements in these areas of concern won’t happen overnight or be remedied by one individual action or intervention.

It will take a combination of all of the actions within this report, with a particular focus on:

  • implementing our positive action development programme for female, BAME and disabled colleagues
  • delivering a programme of awareness and upskilling for all colleagues involved in the recruitment and promotion process to develop deeper expertise and understanding of the inclusive attraction, selection and bias - with the aim of improving success rates for female, BAME and disabled candidates
  • reviewing the processes for offering stretch assignments and acting up to ensure equality of opportunity and transparency

NHS Equality Standard measures

Workforce Race Equality Standard

We have submitted our Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) alongside other participating NHS arm's-length bodies.

The final report is due for publication in Spring 2021. There were previously 9 indicators, however NHS England have changed the requirements this year, meaning that data on previous indicators 5 to 8 are no longer being collected.

Trends

The current data shows we have made improvements in relation to 4 of the 5 of the indicators during 2019-20:

  • overall workforce % by ethnicity from 12.8% to 13.3% and there was also a reduction in Unknown Ethnicity from 11.0% to 9.0%
  • relative likelihood of white staff being appointed from shortlisting compared to BAME staff, from 2.19 to 1.59 (where 1.00 indicates parity)
  • relative likelihood of BAME staff entering the formal disciplinary process compared to white staff from 2.56 to 1.75 (where 1.00 indicates parity)
  • relative likelihood of white staff accessing non-mandatory training and CPD compared to BAME staff had moved from 0.88 to 0.98, which means a near equal likelihood for both BAME and white staff (a value of 1.00 indicates parity)

Impact and action

Our data indicates that there are unacceptable disparities between the experiences of BAME and those of white colleagues.

Our ongoing programme of work focused on race inequality recognises this. Improving the relatively low declaration rates for ethnicity is also a priority to ensure that we are able to assess the full impact of our people processes.

Alongside this, reviewing our corporate processes for recruiting, developing and dealing with formal HR issues to identify and design out bias will be critical to reducing and preventing disparities in the future.

Workforce Disability Equality Standard

We have submitted our Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) data return alongside other participating NHS arm's-length bodies.

The final report is due for publication in Spring 2021. The WDES differs from the WRES in that it includes a qualitative evidence questionnaire that looks at the interventions in place to address inequality.

Trends

The current data we have available in relation to 4 of 5 of the indicators during 2019-20 shows:

  • overall workforce % by disability - overall declaration rates have increased slightly from 4.3% to 5%, but headcount numbers at most grades have decreased
  • relative likelihood of non-disabled staff being appointed from shortlisting compared to disabled staff has decreased from 0.94 to 0.00 (where 1.00 indicates parity) as according to the data no appointments disclosed a disability
  • relative likelihood of disabled staff entering the formal disciplinary process compared to non-disabled staff from 0.00 to 0.75 (where 1.00 indicates parity) - it must be noted that the very low numbers (<2) involved in this indicator make it sensitive
  • relative likelihood of disabled staff accessing non-mandatory training and CPD compared to non-disabled staff has decreased from 1.18 to 1.01 (where 1.00 indicates parity), but shows near-equal likelihood

Impact and action

Our declaration data indicates that our employment of disabled people is significantly below the rates within the wider population (5% vs 12%). When considered alongside the decline in appointment rates and headcount data, there is cause for concern and reinforces the vital importance of the actions we are taking around workplace adjustments, positive action and inclusive recruitment and promotion.

Our full WRES and WDES returns submitted to NHS England are at annex 3.

Last edited: 28 April 2021 2:30 pm