5 July, 2017

UK Government lacks 2020 vision

FTSE100 outperforming central government in ethnic minority representation at senior levels

  • Of 1,472 senior leaders in central government 97%[1] are white
  • Only 0.3% of the Senior Civil Service are from black or Chinese backgrounds
  • Senior female representation has increased across all Senior Civil Service departments by 123 (1.5%) over 2016. This now totals 513 senior placements for women out of 1,472, outperforming the FTSE 100

Despite its aim to be the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020, only 2.9% of employees at the Senior Civil Service (SCS) grades 1 – 4 are from an ethnic minority, according to Green Park’s Public Sector Leadership 5,000 report. This represents a decrease of 4.1% on the 7% recorded in the Civil Service Statistics of March 2016.

While the Civil Service is  outperforming the FTSE100 in gender diversity, increasing Senior Civil Service female representation collectively by 1.5%, ethnic diversity progression is still falling behind the year on year percentage increase seen in the leading FTSE 100 index, which currently stands at just over 7%. This is 2.9% within the Senior Civil Service, with only 43 ethnic minority leaders in a total of 1,472 positions.

This exposes the public sector’s ongoing difficulty to attract and promote senior ethnic minority talent and emphasises how much work must be done if the government are to meet their stated aims around social mobility and become the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020.

Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park, said: “I am convinced that Central Government would like to better serve and represent the people of Great Britain but clearly its supply chain and processes are not helping to make diverse hires at Board and Leadership level, or build a diverse pipeline for senior roles. We continue to see too little programmatic investment and advocacy-led innovations. What we do see is highly aspirational well-meaning initiatives that focus on a single organisation’s own demands, whilst systematically ignoring any supply-side market intelligence, causing perennially unbalanced market dynamics within the sector.”

Neil Lupin, Managing Partner and Head of Public Sector Interim Management Practice, Green Park, added: “We believe that the public sector wants to be more inclusive and this latest report, layered against the current political landscape, provides a timely reminder of just how much more can be done. While government departments continue to make progress compared to the FTSE 100, in female representation, much more needs to be done, particularly to address the lack of BAME competition for Chief Executive roles.”

Key findings from the report:

Government departments

  • The figures for 2017 reveal that the sector has seen a backward movement in minority representation – 3% of employees at the Senior Civil Service (SCS) level (grades 1-4) are from an ethnic minority, this figure is 4% less than the 7% recorded in the Civil Service Statistics: March 2016.
  • There are essentially no employees of black or Chinese/other Asian origin in the highest two SCS grades 3 – 4 (in ascending order of seniority: deputy director, director, director-general, permanent secretary).
  • Ethnocultural diversity has seen a decrease, with minority representation in the SCS moving backwards by -0.5 percentage points for black leaders and -0.5 percentage points for Chinese and Other Asian leaders, this means that out of 1,472 Senior leaders in Central Government only 43 are ethnic minorities, of which only five are black or Chinese/other Asian.
  • There have been incremental changes in gender diversity at SCS grades 1-3 with an aggregate decrease of -5.1 percentage points, while the senior ranks of government departments SCS grade 4 has seen an increase of 9 percentage points, with women now holding 1 in 5 positions.

[1] Civil Service Stats Mar’16 states 7% ethnic minority in SCS1-4. As our analysis does not include nameless roles that aren’t publicly available, particularly within MOD and MI6. We predict this is where the discrepancy lies.

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