Businesses could be forced to reveal their ethnicity pay gap after an audit last year showed significant disparities in pay and promotion opportunities of different ethnic groups .
Announcing a consultation on mandatory pay reporting, Theresa May said: "Every employee deserves the opportunity to progress and fulfil their potential in their chosen field, regardless of which background they are from, but too often ethnic minority employees feel they're hitting a brick wall when it comes to career progression."
The consultation will run until January to allow businesses to share views on what information should be published.
Mys May also unveiled a Race at Work Charter aimed at increasing recruitment and career progression of ethnic minority employees.
Among those to have already signed up are some of the UK's best known companies including accountancy firm KPMG and advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi as well as NHS England and the Civil Service.
Public sector bodies such as the the NHS, armed forces and police will also explain how they intend to increase ethnic minority staff in senior roles.
Mrs May said: "Our focus is now on making sure the UK's organisations, boardrooms and senior management teams are truly reflective of the workplaces they manage, and the measures we are taking today will help employers identify the actions needed to create a fairer and more diverse workforce."
A year ago the Race Disparity Audit exposed the differences between ethnic groups in educational attainment, health, employment and treatment by police and courts.
At the time Mrs May promised to confront the "uncomfortable truths" it revealed. A key finding was that unemployment among black, Asian and minority ethnic people was nearly double that of white Britons.
Welcoming today's consultation Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, said: "Transparency can be a catalyst for action in tackling the ethnicity pay gap, in the same way that it has been so successful for gender.
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"Reporting must be done in a way that is supported by both businesses and employees, to recognise the wide range of ethnic groups and legitimate staff concerns about intrusiveness where sample sizes are small.
"Companies want to work with the Government to achieve their goal of becoming more inclusive employers."