Equality and Diversity

We proactively consider equality when carrying out work by mainstreaming it into our core business.

Group of people, including children and dogs walking through a park

Our approach

We recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce and aim to make our services and assistance available to all.

Equality and diversity is a key component of good management, as well as being legally required, socially desirable and morally right.

We're committed to maintaining a culture which recognises and rewards individual achievement and merit, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation as well as working pattern, full-time or part-time, and contract status, permanent or fixed term.

Under public sector equality duty, we have a general duty to have due regard and the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful conduct, which is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010
  • advance equality of opportunity across relevant protected characteristics
  • foster good relations across relevant protected characteristics.

We proactively consider equality when carrying out work by mainstreaming it into our core business. It is not a marginal activity but a key component of what we do.

We are continuing to develop a robust evidence base of equality data, in relation to the delivery of our functions and regarding how we act as an employer. This includes extending arrangements for consultation and involvement to ensure that we take into account the views of people affected by the delivery of our functions.

We have published a suite of equality outcomes alongside our Strategy and Operating plan. The outcomes articulate how we can maximise our strategic impact through realising economic, social and community benefits for particular groups of people.

Equality and diversity reports

HIE Equality and Diversity policy

This policy sets out our approach as an employer to equality and diversity. We are fully committed to eliminating unlawful and unfair discrimination and value the differences that a diverse workforce brings to the organisation.

HIE's Equality Mainstreaming reports

These reports showcase our progress in mainstreaming equality in the Highlands and Islands, not only in how we operate as an organisation but as a core value and driver of success in the business and communities we support.

HIE Equal Pay statements

We're committed to ensuring that the principals of equal pay for all employees are fairly and consistently applied. Our equal pay statement in 2019 relates to gender, disability and race. For further information on our gender pay gap and occupational segregation please refer to our Equality Mainstreaming April 2019 report.

Trade Union Facility Time reporting

HIE recognise the benefits of a positive and open relationship with our recognised trade union, PCS.  As part of our commitment to working in partnership we offer paid facility time to our workplace representatives to enable them to carry out union activities and duties.  As an organisation, we derive benefits from allowing paid facility time.

There is no statutory entitlement to paid time off to undertake activities. However trade union representatives are entitled to be granted reasonable unpaid time off to participate in trade union activities.

Trade Union activities include:

  • Meetings - where the purpose or principal purpose is to discuss internal union matters
  • Trade Union conferences
  • Internal administration of the union e.g. answering internal union correspondence, dealing with financial matters, responding to internal surveys

For each HIE employee who is an official representative of an independent TU recognised by HIE as the employer, the Facility Time cost is reported. This calculation for HIE for the period April 2020 to March 2021 is:

Trade union representative: 1

FTE: 0.05, 84 hours per annum

Percentage of total pay bill spent on facility time: 0.02%

Percentage of total paid facility time spent on paid activities: 100%

Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across the organisation or the labour market. It is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. In 2021 the gender pay gap in Scotland was 10% (Close the Gap).

HIE’s most recent gender pay gap report was based on data as at 31 March 2022, showing a mean gender pay gap of 12.2% across the workforce.

Gender Pay Gap Report 2022

HIE Board Diversity

HIE's Board Gender Representation Report 2023 is included in HIE’s Equality Mainstream Report 2023 (page 19) and outlines our progress towards compliance with the Gender Representation on Public Boards (2018) Act.

Related publications

Browse our other policies and publications that may be of interest.

Annual report and accounts

Our investments and impacts are recorded in our annual report and accounts each year. Find out more about our performance.

About us

We're the community and economic development agency for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Find out what we do, how we work and how we can help you.


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