Articles - EDI and how transparency can help to build trust


Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lead Sandisiwe Dhlamini explains why being transparent on TPR’s pay gaps is a small but important part of making workplace pensions work for all savers. This week we have published our gender pay gap data. Like other organisations, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) must report this information annually. But, as in previous years, we’ve gone further than the legal minimum and published pay gap data for disability, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Why is this important?

 By Sandisiwe Dhlamini, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at The Pensions Regulator

 Driving diversity commitment
 It’s important because transparency builds trust.

 We encourage trustees to consider equality, diversity and inclusion issues and we produce guidance to help governing bodies and employers do this.

 And, as a regulator, effective decision-making from a diverse and inclusive workforce is important too. That’s why our EDI strategy covered our aims as a regulator and as an employer, as well as the industry we regulate.

 Action to address pay gaps
 We have seen a reduction in our pay gaps across all categories, but we know there’s still more to do.

 We are committed to addressing all pay gaps, particularly our sexual orientation and ethnicity pay gaps, which are too high.

 From my experience of working in the Civil Service, I know many other organisations are working hard to tackle their own pay gaps, including some struggling with gaps far higher than ours.

 As our report explains, there is low representation of ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay and bisexual staff within senior leadership. This a significant driver of some of our pay gaps.

 We also explain how we will be continuing to work to address these gaps.

 This includes finding talent acquisition and management solutions that will enable us to improve representation within our executive committee, senior leadership team and across all levels of the organisation.

 I hope the work we have already completed or have planned will help to encourage our regulated community to consider adopting similar strategies for their scheme.

 We want to foster the diverse range of skills and viewpoints needed to be a high-performing organisation that delivers good outcomes for savers.

 And we want to encourage trustee boards to ensure they have the right mix of skills and cognitive diversity.

 Ground-breaking diversity research
 Our aim is to make workplace pensions work for savers. We can’t achieve this alone.

 Working in the pensions space for almost two years, I’ve been impressed by the appetite and the willingness to drive forward high standards of EDI.

 And I’m excited that ground-breaking research we carried out last year shows the majority of trustees support our view that diverse and inclusive boards are important for good decision-making, good governance and good member outcomes.

 The survey did not focus just on visible or protected characteristics but also tried to gauge the mix of skills, experience and cognitive diversity held on pension scheme boards.

 The data we gathered will provide a valuable baseline we can measure progress against and I’m excited to see how the results will inform the EDI debate.

 Where next?
 Our EDI strategy has provided strong foundations. We’ve charted the course. Now it’s about delivering on those ambitions.

 I want the industry to build on the good work that’s already been done.

 And I have three tips for trustees looking to improve their scheme’s standards:

 1. look to the wider pensions industry to take advantage of the good practice that exists, for example, many scheme sponsors already have polices that schemes could consider adopting

 2. engage with our EDI guidance which provides practical ways to improve board diversity and inclusion and encourages trustees to think about diversity more widely than just through more visible characteristics

 3. recognise the value everyone plays in driving this agenda – TPR can’t do this work alone, so play your role by creating a strategy or action plan for your scheme

 There’s growing evidence that diverse boards allow people to perform better or deliver better services often because they make better use of all the skills, knowledge and insights available and better understand their audience.

 By embedding EDI into scheme governance, I believe it will result in better decisions and this will deliver more value for savers.

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