The BBC is facing calls to set more ambitious targets for its employment of black and minority ethnic (BAME) staff ahead of a new royal charter following criticism that there are currently no black, Asian or other ethnic minorities employed as senior executives.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Media Show, Seetha Kumar, chief executive of Creative Skillset and herself a former senior BBC executive, said: “Why is it after so many years we still do not have a person from a BAME [background] who is part of the executive board? I don’t mean non-executive directors, and no one from a position of what I call real power or authority in terms of a [channel] controller or genre commissioner.”
A BBC spokesperson defended the broadcaster's record, stating: “We have already set ourselves stretching diversity targets and are making good progress towards them,” said a BBC spokesman. “We are proud the proportion of black, Asian and other ethnic minorities in our workforce is at an all-time high of 13.1% and BBC leaders from these backgrounds has increased from 6.1% in 2011 to 9.2% in 2015.”
At present just 12.2 per cent of the BBC’s workforce are non-white – versus 12.9 per cent for the UK population taken as a whole. The BBC hopes to increase this ratio to 14.2 per cent by 2017 however and insists that its diversity rate is actually 13.1 per cent if BBC Worldwide is taken into consideration.