UK workplace pension provider The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) has published new data on the gender and ethnicity pay gaps within its own organisation showing these inequalities have diminished over the last year – but its chief executive officer insists there is more to be done.

Publishing reports on both types of pay gap for 2021/22 as well as 2020/21, the UK auto-enrolment scheme revealed that the median gender pay gap was 9.5% – or £3.07 per hour – in the latest financial year, which is 1.4 percentage points less than in 2020/21.

The median ethnicity pay gap, meanwhile, was 11.9% in the most recent financial year, or £3.79 per hour, which was down 1.3 percentage points from 2020/21.

Helen Dean, NEST’s CEO, said: “While I am pleased we’ve made progress over the past two years, we’re not going to become complacent. I have said I want NEST to do much, much better, and the data shows we’re still on our journey.”

NEST was working to create an inclusive environment, she said, where everyone – including women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds – could progress and not be held back by bias or unfairness.

“We’ll keep finding new ways to do this, and we understand that there are areas where we need to improve,” Dean said, adding that she was encouraged that NEST had exceeded targets for representation of women in director-level roles, and for a gender-balanced workforce.

NEST said the number of women and people from an ethnic minority background working at the organisation had increased, but admitted that both groups remained over-represented in “lower-quartile roles”.

But it said there had been some improvement in representation of employees from an ethnic minority background in senior roles, with the new data showing a five-percentage-point increase of those employees in the upper-mid quartile roles between 2020/21 and 2021/22.

NEST said it has been signed up to the Women in Finance Charter since July 2016, and has twice increased its commitment, from 30% to 50% of women in senior management roles.

As things stand, NEST said, 55% of its director-level roles are held by women.

The pension provider it would set a target of having at least two black directors by 2025, as well as to continue to support the 10,000 Black Interns initiative.

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