Nest outlines new targets in effort to close pay gaps

Nest has outlined new targets as part of its effort to increase diversity and inclusion, after its latest ethnic and gender pay data revealed that whilst there has been progress towards pay parity, further work is still needed.

The latest reports from the scheme revealed that the median gender pay gap was 9.56 per cent, or £3.07 per hour, in 2021/22, marking a 1.4 percentage point fall from 2020/21, when the gap was 10.9 per cent, or £3.41 per hour.

Improvements were also seen in the median ethnicity pay gap, which was 11.9 per cent, or £3.79 per hour, in 2021/22, a reduction of 1.3 percentage points from 2020/21, when the gap was 13.2 per cent.

In addition to this, the number of women working at Nest increased in 2021/22, with 52 per cent of the workforce being women, slightly above the 51 per cent of the general population of England and Wales.

People from an ethnic minority background also represent around 27 per cent of the workforce at Nest, compared with around 14 per cent of the general population of England and Wales.

Representation at a senior level also improved, recording a 5-percentage point increase of employees from an ethnic minority background in the upper-mid quartile roles between 2020/21 and 2021/22.

However, despite the improvements, the scheme acknowledged that women and people from an ethnic minority background are still over-represented in lower-quartile role, emphasising that there is still more work to be done to address this.

In particular, the scheme announced plans to target gender parity in director-level roles, aiming for at least 30 per cent of its executive team being women and at least 13 per cent being from an ethnic minority background by 2025, with a further target of having at least two Black directors by 2025.

It has also introduced personalised training accounts to give employees greater control, and will ensure that each member of the executive team has a diversity-related objective, in an effort to build an inclusive organisation “from the top down”.

Additionally, the scheme committed to building a comprehensive data infrastructure to better understand its workforce and how any barriers at Nest can be addressed, and to use this data infrastructure to review intersectional data and insight.

Commenting on the plans, Nest chief executive officer, Helen Dean, 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.

“At Nest, we work to create an inclusive environment where everyone, including women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds can 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.

“We’re on the right track. I’m encouraged to see Nest exceed our targets for representation of women in director-level roles, and for a gender-balanced workforce. This is another sign that the plans we have in place can and will lead to pay equality at Nest.”

Adding to this, Nest diversity equity and inclusion lead and chief financial officer, Richard Lockwood, said: “We’re committed to reducing our pay gaps year-on-year and I’m proud of our clear plan to drive us towards our long-term goal of pay parity for women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds at Nest.

"I believe our continued focus on recruitment and development, and on building an inclusive culture where all employees can progress, will help us achieve this.

“Increasing our focus on staff development can improve representation in senior roles, which is key to closing our pay gap. It also makes good business sense. Nest will benefit from increased diversity of thought at every level.”

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