Monitoring community background and sex
Employers with more than 10 employees, each working 16 or more hours per week, must register with the Equality Commission and must thereafter monitor the community background composition and sex of their job applicants and employees. They must also submit that information in a report to the Equality Commission every 12 months.
Furthermore, they must review that information every three years with a view to determining whether they are providing fair participation in employment to members of the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities in Northern Ireland. Where they determine that they are not providing such fair participation, they must consider taking affirmative action.
Monitoring other equality grounds
For many employers, ie those in the private and voluntary sectors in particular, it is not, subject to the above, mandatory to monitor the other equality characteristics of your workforces, such as race, disability, age or sexual orientation.
However, equal opportunities monitoring is an important means of demonstrating and implementing your commitment to promoting equality of opportunity on all equality grounds. It can assist you to identify barriers that prevent access to employment and career development for certain groups of people, and to develop solutions, such as positive action plans or alternative policies and practices.
Therefore, it is good practice to monitor whether your equality policy is working effectively on all equality grounds.
If you find that it isn't working, ie you find that your workforce is not as diverse as it should be, it would be good practice to find out why and take action to improve the effectiveness of the policy.
For example, if you find that non-white people are underrepresented in your workforce, you could take positive action, eg include text in job advertisements encouraging members of minority ethnic groups to apply - see promoting equality and diversity.