BBC ‘more diverse than ever’ with most BAME staff in its history

The BBC has been billed as “more diverse than ever” after the release of figures revealing the broadcaster now has the highest proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic staff in its history.

Figures to be published in the corporation’s Annual Plan show that the BBC now has 15.2% BAME staff, hitting its self-imposed diversity targets.

BBC sources have said the broadcaster is striving to be the most diverse organisation in the media industry, though increasing the BAME and female staff in senior leadership roles remains a priority.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The publicly-funded broadcaster has not yet reached its vision on 15% BAME staff in leadership roles, the annual figures will show, with 11% of the BBC leadership from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.

It will also be revealed in the March 28 publication that the BBC has made progress on the inclusion of disabled and LGBT staff, although there remains work to be done to hit its targets for 2020.

The broadcaster introduced 10 recommendations based on advice from the charity Stonewall in 2018, including the introduction of “straight allies”.

Women hold 44.3% of BBC leadership roles, still below the target of a 50/50 gender balance.

The BBC has cited series like Luther as examples of successful creative diversity (Des Willie/BBC)

A BBC source said that the public service broadcaster will be pushing to become more diverse in the coming year.

The source said: “Our ambition is to be the most creative broadcaster in the world – and we need a diverse workforce if we’re going to truly reflect the diversity of our audiences.

“With over 15% BAME staff the BBC is more diverse than ever but there’s no room for complacency – there is still more to do.

“In the coming year we will go even further to ensure we are at least as diverse, if not more so, than any other in the industry.”

Idris Elba in Luther, The Windrush Chronicles with Lenny Henry, and comedies like Famalam have been cited by the BBC as examples of its commitment to on-screen diversity, which the BBC is aiming to continue with shows including Romesh: Ranganation and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

The broadcaster was pushing for greater diversity in its workforce in order to reflect its audience, and in 2016 set targets including having 15% BAME staff in regular and leadership roles by 2020.

Following the move the proportion of BAME staff has increased from 14.5% in 2017/18, to 14.8% last year, and now 15.2%.  

The plan will also show that 11.1% of BBC leaders are black, Asian or minority ethnic, an increase from 10.4% last year, and 10.3% in 2017/18.

The proportion of women in BBC leadership positions has increased from 42.1% last year, a figure unchanged from the 2017/18 Annual Plan.

In 2018 the BBC recorded that 11% of its workforce and 12% of its leaders identify as LGBT, and took advice from Stonewall on how to make the broadcaster more inclusive.

The latest plan will be published on March 28, and underline the need for further progress in making the broadcaster more diverse and inclusive.

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