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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3506

Acas and its staff

At the end of March 2011 Acas employed 903 people. We have an pdf  Acas Equality and Diversity Policy October 2011 [26kb], we monitor the characteristics of those we employ; we train our employees in equality to prevent discrimination of employees because of their protected characteristic. In 2009 we carried out a monitoring exercise and plan to do so again in 2013 consistent with the EHRC code of practice. We monitor employee's progression within Acas and the effect of our internal policies and practices on them.  We also undertake annual&nbsp.

What do we know about equality in our employees?

We have set out in tables and graphs information about our staff in terms of their gender, race, and disability and pay using the period April to end of March data. We have used end of March data to coincide with the reporting period used by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to inform annual statistics on employees in the civil service. We will continue to use March data in subsequent references. In each case we have also looked at our staff in terms of their grade.

A person's Grade in Acas determines what sort of job they do. The most junior Grade is Administration Officer (AO) and, as the name suggests, they undertake a wide range of clerical and supportive functions.

Executive Officers (EO) are supervisors of small team or highly trained Helpline Advisers who answer a wide range of workplace related issues to employers, employees and members of the public.

Higher Executive Officers (HEO) are managers of business units and also many are employed as Conciliation Officers with powers to engage with people who are making claims against their employer for such issues as unfair dismissal and discrimination. HEO staff can be trainers who deliver a wide range of courses for the public around workplace matters.

Senior Executive Officers (SEO) are highly experienced managers leading larger teams of staff dealing with conciliation for large parts of the Country. They also undertake assignments in workplaces aimed at improving matters or dealing with collective disputes

The Senior Management Team (SMT) are the leadership of the organisation and consist of Directors, Heads of Services, the Chief Executive, and Acas Chair.

Acas has four Directorates to support the process for delivering our operational work and supporting our staff. You can find further information on our work in Acas Business Plan 2011 -2012.

  • pdf  Gender Distribution of Employees 2011 [14kb]
    At March 2011 more women (57%) worked in Acas than men (43%) and this proportion has increased by 1% since 2010 reflecting the growth of female employment in the public sector. Up to the HEO grade women are in the majority, after HEO grade men become the majority, culminating in the senior management where seven out of ten members are men.

    Why is this so? Do the Acas figures represent a ceiling to women's progress in the organisation or do they show the effect of individual choices in career progression, or more likely, are they a mix of these and other factors? Acas will undertake more detailed examination of these figures.
  • pdf  Disabled Employees as a proportion of all employees 2011 [14kb]
    12% of our workforce has disclosed they consider themselves disabled as defined under the Equality Act 2010. This compares with 7% for the Civil Service as a whole.

    However the most significant element of this pie chart is the very large number of staff who did not disclose whether they were disabled or not disabled at 47%, a percentage that increased from 45% in 2010.

    There is substantive research to show that disclosure of disability in workplaces remains a challenge for organisations to understand. Acas supports a voluntary approach to disclosure and a person's right to keep this information private must always be respected. However Acas also has a responsibility to ensure that employees do not feel that disclosure would expose them to harassment and other discrimination and finding the right balance will be a key objective for us in the future.
  • pdf  Ethnicity Distribution of Employees 2011 [21kb]
    As Acas is a relatively small organisation of 903 people, we decided to look at ethnicity in term of all employees who would identify as black and minority ethnic (BME) rather than individual Census categories to ensure individuals were not identified in any analysis.

    Our headline figures of 85% identifying as White with 7% identifying as Black or Minority Ethnic and a further 7% who preferred not to say is consistent with 2010 despite the organisation employing 56 fewer people.

    Across the Civil Service black and minority ethnic staff make up 9.2%. Against this benchmark Acas appears to have a shortfall in black and minority ethnic staff overall despite having offices in the major urban conurbations. However some 67 staff preferred not to disclose their ethnicity and so we need to balance considerations of accessibility and how welcoming Acas appears to minority communities with encouraging more colleagues to have the willingness to disclose ethnicity.

    Disclosure is a theme that carries into the grades in Acas and where ethnic minority staff work. Whilst half of all our BME staff work in the junior grades of Administration Officers and Executive Officers, only 8 colleagues who identify as black or minority ethnic are in the Senior Executive Officer grade and the Senior Management Team (SMT). We have recently instituted a future leaders' programme in Acas that will identify and monitor the progress of staff by age, disability, gender and ethnicity. We are considering different forms of positive action to increase representation in the higher levels of Acas. 
  • pdf  Equal Pay 2011 [15kb]
    The table shows the median pay for each grade between men and women. In both this year and last year there is a gap between men and women at SMT level reflecting the mature and majority male profile of the group with many men on the maximum of their pay-bands. There is also a gap between women and men at EO level in favour of women. The difference is due to the large number of London based women on the maximum pay scale when compared to men across the organisation. 
  • pdf  Age distribution of employees 2011 [16kb]
    The tables attached show the number of employees in each grade by age bands and the proportion of each grade made up by age bands.

    Clearly there is a high proportion of staff under 30 in the entry grades into Acas such as AO and EO.

    HEO is the largest grade in Acas representing nearly 50% of our staff between the ages of 30 to 50. It is also populated in majority by women. Even for employees over 50 it still makes up 40% of staff.

    We intend to explore this link between women and the HEO grade and why, on face value, it appears to be a plateau for women more than men.

    Leadership and the senior management team in Acas is dominated by staff aged between 50 and 60 being the modal group with nearly 57% in that age band reflecting a relatively mature profile. It is also 70% male.

    Comparisons between the gender and age distributions in Acas begin to describe the career paths of staff that we intend to explore to ensure we are meeting the General Duty fully.
  • Part time and flexible working employees
    We are currently updating our information on the numbers of part time and flexible working employees by grade and this information will appear here with an analysis shortly.
  • Discipline and grievance in Acas
    We have looked closely at the protective characteristics of staff in our organisation who have been subjected to disciplinary procedures or who have taken out a grievance. As the numbers involved in both were less than ten we have decided not to publish this information however we will continue to monitor these areas to ensure continued compliance with the Equality Duty. 

Further analysis of Acas employees protected characteristics

Acas undertook a monitoring exercise in 2009 covering all Protected Characteristics. Over 85% of employees responded to this exercise. Below is an indication of our staff by their religion or belief and also their sexual orientation.

  • pdf  Religion and Belief as at 2009 [16kb]
    The predominant religion in Acas is the Christian faith which accounts for 53% of those responding. 27% of respondents described themselves as having no religion or belief. We have no evidence to suggest that employees are treated less favourably because or their religion or belief (or because they do not have a religion or belief).
  • pdf  Sexual Orientation as at 2009 [16kb]
    93% of those responding indicated their sexual orientation. We have no evidence of less favourable treatment of employees because of their sexual orientation.

We also advance equality and good relations in our staff through celebrations of our diversity such as pdf  Black history month 2011 [8kb]. This national awareness campaign is to highlight African and Caribbean history and heritage, and to promote a greater understanding of the UK's diverse community.