Black, Asian and minority-ethnic staff earn 13% less at PwC

03 October 2017 4 min. read

PwC have released data revealing a substantial racial pay gap within their company. The Big Four consultancy previously released figures revealing that their gender pay gap stood at 13.7%, and a similar number has now been confirmed for Black, Asian and minority-ethnic staff (BAME) who earn almost 13% less than their white colleagues.

Black, Asian and minority-ethnic staff working at PwC in the UK earn 12.8% less than other employees, according to figures provided by the professional services firm themselves. Bonuses saw a much more drastic disparity, meanwhile, with BAME employees receiving an average of 35.4% smaller bonus packages. The release of data was voluntary on the firm’s part, with the UK government not presently requiring the release of such information regarding BAME employees. However, PwC said it had published the numbers to help it speed up progress on the issue, and help them to tackle “ethnicity challenges” in future.

While the analysis showed that the consultancy pay BAME and non-BAME employees equally for doing equivalent jobs, the firm revealed that BAME workers at the auditing and advisory giant were statistically paid less because more of them worked in administrative and junior roles, rather than senior ones. According to the firm's '2017 Our People' report, 6.5% (58 of 889) of Partners are BAME, in contrast to BAME individuals making up 22.1% (3968 of 17948) of the total employees of PwC in the UK.

Black, Asian and minority-ethnic staff earn 13 percent less at PwC

PwC Chairman, Kevin Ellis, commented on the findings, “Our priority is to do all we can to retain our junior BAME talent and improve rates of progression to senior management levels. We’re aiming to achieve this through stronger accountability across our business to deliver our gender and ethnicity targets, monitoring our pipelines on a more regular basis and making sure that all of our people can benefit from the most stretching of client engagements. We are also talking to our BAME employees to understand their sense of working at PwC to see if there are any barriers we can address.”

Improving diversity

PwC previously encountered allegations of institutional and individualised racism, including high-profile claims being brought before UK employment tribunals in 2009 and 2011, respectively. First, in 2009, Romanian expatriate Mihaela Popa, and then in 2011, Sri Lanka-born Dunstan Pedropillai, both alleged racial discrimination had limited their career paths with the firm. Popa was eventually awarded a small settlement for having been given an adverse reference, following her resignation at PwC, though the case was also deemed by the tribunal to be an isolated incident.

The release of PwC’s ethnic pay gap data is not the only way in which the company has recently engaged transparency as a tactic to improve diversity within the firm. The firm has also been voluntarily publishing its gender pay gap figures since 2014, a move which it claims has helped "shine a spotlight on gender issues”, with the gender pay gap dropping from 15.2% to 13.7% over the past year, alone. Following their sustained work on gender parity, PwC were hired by the BBC to review the broadcasting institution’s own gendered salary policies. Now PwC hope that their reporting of BAME pay can do the same for tackling the 12.8% disparity in base pay and the 35.4% bonus difference, as well encouraging clients to take similar steps and making the firm more appealing to new talent from diverse backgrounds.

The company published the new BAME figures alongside its annual results for the year to the end of June. PwC, which was recently revealed to have retained its position as the world’s largest consulting firm in 2017, said that while revenue had risen 5% to £3.6 billion for the year, profit had slipped by 1% to £822 million. PwC's consulting, tax and assurance business divisions all saw revenues rise, but income from its deals business similarly fell by 1%.

Related: Base salary and total remuneration of consultants in the UK.