Council’s workforce doesn’t reflect Liverpool’s diversity - Mayor says ‘work to be done’

A survey of the council revealed its workforce is predominantly white, heterosexual and non-disabled.

Liverpool Council’s workforce currently “does not fully reflect” the city’s diversity, a committee has been told.

The authority’s Mayoral and Performance Select Committee heard that data collected from almost 5,000 respondents to a council wide survey indicated that its workforce is predominantly white, heterosexual and non-disabled.

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Mayor Joanne Anderson said: “There is work to do in our culture.”

The number of black and ethnic minority staff members accounted for less than 10% of respondents from the council workforce, while LGBTQ+ individuals made up around 5% of staff surveyed.

What the data revealed

More women are employed by Liverpool Council than men, but are more likely to earn less, with the gender pay gap at 5.4%

Figures for the pay gap for race and disability are being developed.

Women, non-white and disabled members of staff “are almost certainly likely” to earn less than £30,000 per year, currently.

The data on the makeup of the workforce was compared against that of the city’s population from the 2011 census – the 2021 set is expected to be released in the Spring.

What’s been said

Cllr Pam Thomas, Cabinet Member – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said improving equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is a major part of Mayor Anderson’s “triple lock” of policy initiatives including environmental impact, social impact, and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Cllr Thomas said there had been a lack of data in certain groups of the council’s workforce as some prefer not to disclose their religion, disability status and/or sexual orientation and was keen to ensure this was for personal reasons, rather than the organisation “appearing unfriendly.”

Mayor Anderson said she “wasn’t confident” that the current council set up was providing an environment in which people felt they were safe being out and it was important to create a place where “people can bring their whole selves to work.”

How is the issue of diversity being addressed?

Cllr Thomas said the council’s equality officers group sought to implement its EDI plan by continued targeted recruitment of underrepresented groups and work with communities to encourage people to apply, and she is directly working with the council’s people and talent team to address the underrepresentation of certain groups.

A number of policies aimed to address EDI were also launched last year, councillors heard, including initiatives around agile working, menopause, fostering, revised flexi time and compensatory time off.

Cllr Thomas also said the council had achieved the Navajo charter mark, an equality mark a signifier of good practice, commitment and knowledge of the specific needs, issues and barriers facing LGBTIQA+ people in Merseyside.