BBC to ban all-white shortlists
Rachel Muller-Heyndyk, June 22, 2018
Those old enough and wise enough to remember the days of "quotas" will read this with a wry smile. There was a time when the informed establishment frowned upon such measures and they were ...
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June 22, 2018 11:07
The BBC has announced plans to mandate the inclusion of at least one black or ethnic minority candidate in all job shortlists above a certain grade
In a new report the BBC said it wants 50% of its workforce to be women, 8% individuals with disabilities, 8% LGBT, and 15% from a BAME background by 2020. This new protocol will apply to all middle- and senior-ranking positions, including presenter, editor and producer roles.
The organisation has also vowed to increase the number of ethnic minority staff conducting job interviews, and to establish action plans for all divisions with less than 10% Asian and minority ethnic representation.
'The aim of the project has been to review career progression and culture for BAME employees at the BBC, identify gaps and best practice, and make recommendations to the executive committee that will result in significant change,' the BBC said in a statement.
Managers will also be required to undergo cultural awareness training.
According to Ofcom just 6% of senior posts at the BBC are held by people from ethnic minorities, who represent 14.8% of the total workforce.
The report is one of five ordered by BBC director-general Tony Hall, aimed at boosting opportunities for women and BAME, disabled and LGBT staff, as well as those from different social backgrounds.
“This is an excellent report based on an unprecedented level of engagement from staff. They are a range of proposals that we believe will transform the BBC. By better reflecting the broader population we will make better programmes that reflect the lives, interests and concerns of everyone," Hall said.
“The proposals build on our existing initiatives, which have been making a difference, but this is now a chance to accelerate change in an unparalleled way. Today’s report is a huge step forward. There is no question of whether we implement it. We will. This is a great opportunity. We will grasp it,” he added.
Frank Douglas, CEO and founder of Caerus Executive, told HR magazine that he welcomed the BBC’s "bold and refreshing approach."
"What Tony Hall and the BBC have done is envision a future whereby one day a BAME person and/or woman – and other under-represented staff – may one day become the director-general of the BBC, and have put in place objectives to support that vision,” he said.
Douglas said other organisations must follow suit and look at diversity and inclusion in a broader sense rather than focusing on gender alone.
“Unfortunately most companies have only envisioned a woman one day running their organisations and, as such, have only focused on gender," he said. "I think all companies must aspire to someone from an under-represented group being CEO and therefore need to put in place programmes and objectives to make that happen. Diversity must still include but move beyond gender. Organisations must learn to walk and chew gum when it comes to diversity."
Founder and CEO of executive recruitment firm Audeliss and diversity membership organisation INvolve Suki Sandhu, praised the BBC's introduction, and advocated the value, of shortlist quotas.
"Shortlist quotas can sometimes be a contentious issue. But for us to achieve equality in the workplace we don’t need to lower the bar or our expectations," he said. "As the BBC is demonstrating it’s about levelling the playing field – ensuring that diverse communities are getting access to the best opportunities, and that companies are getting access to the best talent pool.
“Businesses need to be building diversity and inclusion into everything they do; recruitment, training, policy and culture," he added. "On top of recruiting from a diverse pool they need to be reviewing diversity at every level of the business and tracking staff retention, taking active steps to address any shortcomings.
"They also need to ensure that their policies and mandatory training are inclusive and non-discriminatory – including things like unconscious bias training for all, which can help shift perceptions and therefore culture.”