Lloyds Banking Group reveals black staff paid nearly 20% less – leading business psychologist Professor Binna Kandola responds

Lloyds Banking Group has today revealed that its black staff are being paid nearly 20% less than their colleagues. It has said the large gap is due to the lack of black staff in senior roles. The bank has also published its BAME pay gap for the first time, showing a 14.8% median difference, while the bonus pay gap stood at 32.5%

In response to the alarming findings, Professor Binna Kandola, business Psychologist and co-founder of Pearn Kandola, has issued the following statement: “We keep hearing from companies that the race pay gap is driven by the higher number of non-BAME employees in senior, better paid roles. The problem here is that this suggests that people are in fact being paid the same, regardless of race. Minority and majority staff simply happen to be doing different jobs – and so it’s nothing to do with racism. This complacent theory forces us to ask another question: why are the majority of BAME people not achieving the same opportunities as their white colleagues?

“Considering that the majority of senior roles are filled by white people, this would suggest that white staff are given preferential treatment and are able to climb the ladder more quickly. For example, research has shown that minorities are less likely to be given timely and accurate performance feedback by managers. This happens partly because managers are wary of giving negative feedback for fear of being accused of discrimination. But it might also reflect a lack of concern about improving the person’s performance and developing them further.

“While the best organisations will try to be more systematic in assessing and evaluating performance, bias still penetrates these processes. Rarely are organisations willing to confront the fact that the problem is the people operating the processes. None of us are as objective as we believe we are, and none of us want to believe that we make judgements about people based on their ethnicity. As a consequence, minorities are more likely to be found in roles which have fewer opportunities for progression and which ultimately pay less.

“To solve the problem of the race pay gap, we must address the lack of opportunity for BAME people to advance to more senior positions. Performance evaluations, career development and line manager support are all crucial ingredients, and the people operating these systems must receive the training and support required to conduct these processes with career and accuracy.”