PLSA ESG 22: Industry report highlights increase in company reporting

More companies are reporting on their workforce over a greater number of categories, a report from the CIPD, PLSA and Railpen has revealed.

At a PLSA ESG Conference 2022 panel titled ‘Influencing workplace behaviour - inside our workforce disclosure project’, High Pay Centre director, Luke Hildyard analysed information from the report looking into how companies report on their workforce.

Hildyard highlighted that there had been an increase in workplace reporting in comparison to the previous version of the analysis across all categories.

It found that a breakdown of employees by ethnicity was provided by 22 per cent of companies, almost double the 10 per cent in the last report, the discussion of trade union relations was in 36 per cent of annual reports compared to 8 per cent previously, and 36 per cent of companies disclosed their staff turnover, up from 31 per cent.

Whilst Hildyard noted the increase in reporting, he also added context to some of these numbers, specifically the staff turnover figures as he stated: “I don’t think there’s a company where staff turnover wouldn’t be relevant to the business’s long-term performance where it wouldn’t provide some kind of insight into employee commitment and morale.”

Hildyard made the point that, considering that staff turnover is such a key aspect for companies, an inclusion rate of 36 per cent is surprising, even when considering the 5 percentage point rise.

Railpen senior investment manager, Caroline Escott, also offered information from the report, specifically from her role as an investor.

Escott detailed a number of key insights, including the wishes of companies for investors: “Companies would like investors to speak with one voice on these issues.

“In every single piece of engagement or discussion with other companies around reporting and disclosure, companies are beginning to feel increasingly burdened by the weight of information requests that are coming their way.”

Escott stated that the report was favoured by companies as “it was relatively brief, it brought out some of the key metrics that we thought were material to investors and that it should be really straightforward for companies to report on as well”.

Escott also detailed the need for investors to understand cultural differences when it came to companies reporting, detailing that, when talking to companies all across the world, some showed signs of reluctance when reporting on the sexual preferences of their employees as it could be problematic for them in their own local communities.

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