The BBC is struggling to meet its own targets on increasing the diversity of its workforce, with a tiny increase in minority employees over the past year and an actual decline in the number of disabled employees.
The number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff employed by the BBC rose by just 42 to 2,405, an increase from 11.9% to 12.2%, according tofigures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Broadcast magazine.
This percentage is below the BBC’s own targets of 14.2% of its workforce being from diverse backgrounds by 2017 as well as the national average in the UK where 12.9% of residents identified themselves as non-white in the 2011 census. This proportion is higher in London, where most BBC employees work
Using the same data, just 733, or 3.7% of the workforce, staff identified themselves as having a disability in 2015, 35 fewer BBC than in 2014. The BBC’s target is 5.3% by 2017. There were also more disabled people leaving the BBC. Some 143 disabled staff exited the broadcaster last year, compared with 52 in 2014.
On Wednesday, Trevor Phillips, the former Equality and Human Rights Commission chair, criticised the BBC for failing to attract minority audiences.
He accused BBC2 of being “Britain’s whitest TV station” after analysis that that the channel enjoyed 5.7% share of the total audience but just 3.3% of black, Asian and ethnic minority viewers. In comparison, the state-owned commercially funded Channel 4 attracted a far higher percentage of BAME viewers.
In June 2014, BBC director general Hall announced new diversity targets both on and off air and said: “My aim is for the BBC to be the number one destination for talented people, regardless of their background.”
With more BAME employees leaving that the total workforce average, there are signs that 2017 targets will be even harder to reach this year.
The number of BAME staff leaving the BBC jumped from 173 in 2014 to 379 last year, an increase of 120%, according to the FoI data, when the broadcaster’s total workforce was down only 0.5% to 19,644.
The total number of leavers growing increased from 1,224 to 3,143 year on year, however.
A BBC spokeswoman pledged to do more and said: “We want an open and diverse BBC, which is why we have implemented ambitious plans and targets to improve on and off-air representation of BAME and disabled people.”