BBC falls short of its staff disability targets

Liz Carr and David Caves Liz Carr joined the Silent Witness cast after participating in a BBC scheme for disabled presenters

The BBC has fallen short of its 2012 targets for staff disability representation, according to its annual equality review.

It revealed that the number of staff with disabilities fell from 4.6% in 2008 to 3.5% last August, less than the target of 5.5%.

Disabled employees at senior manager level (above grade 11) were also down - from 3.4% in 2008 to 3.1% in September 2012. This was significantly short of the 4.5% target.

No BBC division reached the corporate target with BBC Worldwide and Audio & Music having the lowest levels of representation.

Start Quote

Bringing in fresh, talented, new perspectives helps us to reflect modern Britain”

End Quote Tim Davie Acting director general, BBC

The corporation admitted that it had to 'do more to portray life in the UK as it truly is' and is introducing new diversity goals for 2017, replacing the previous 2008-2012 aims.

The target for staff with disabilities will slightly drop from the current 5.5% to 5.3% for 2017.

But the target for BBC staff from ethnic minorities - set at 12.5% for 2012 and almost met - has been raised to 14.2% for 2017.

Acting director general Tim Davie said the BBC's content had to 'speak to all of our audiences'.

'Bringing in fresh, talented, new perspectives helps us to reflect modern Britain properly,' he added.

The BBC said it will focus on getting more women in technology and on-air in news and current affairs.

It will also concentrate on improving engagement with disabled staff, including developing presenter talent.

Amanda Rice, BBC head of Diversity said: 'Diversity doesn't just exist on the fringe of our thinking - it continues to be truly part and parcel of who we are and what we do.'

The report also revealed the following findings when it came to meeting its 2012 targets, set in 2008:


  • Staff from British ethnic minorities (BME) currently represent 12.4% of the BBC workforce, slightly less than the 12.5% target.
  • Around 6.5% of all BBC senior managers are of BME origin, which is three employees less than the 7% target.
  • BBC North* and BBC Scotland had no senior managers (SM) from an ethnic minority while Future Media had an above-target representation of 16.7%.
  • BBC Vision was considered to be a 'challenging' area with BME employees composing 9.6% of its staff.

*Although there are SM from ethnic minorities in Salford, they belong to other divisions such as BBC Vision.


  • 53% of the BBC workforce have declared their religion or belief status.
  • Of all BBC staff, 23% said they are Christian, 15% declared they have no religion and 9.2% described themselves as atheist.
  • Staff who said they were Muslim made up 1.3% of the workforce, with Hindus and Jews composing 0.8% and 0.7% respectively.


  • The workforce is split fairly evenly with women representing nearly 49%.
  • 37.5% of SM level are female.
  • The proportion of women in technology and engineering roles has dropped from nearly 30% in 2008 to the current figure of 25.3%.
  • The biggest decline has been in Future Media (17.5% female) and is partly in line with the representation of women in the wider technology and engineering market.
  • A new 30% female representation target has been set for the Technology and Future Media divisions to apply by 2017 - similar to the 2008 levels. This goal will be reviewed in 2015.

DQF - impact of the 20% savings in 2013-17

  • Disabled staff are more likely to be affected by redundancy procedures
  • The 40+ age group showed 'disproportionate outcomes in relation to redundancy processes' partly because they are more likely to be impacted by management restructures.
  • BME and 'other White' staff 'are disproportionately more likely to choose to leave the BBC' but redundancy data showed little disproportionate impact.


  • Most BBC areas show lower-than-expected rates for BME and disabled applicants gaining job offers.
  • However BBC North had higher-than-expected recruitment of BME, female and disabled applicants. The division, established in 2010 ahead of the BBC's arrival in Salford, was described as 'an exemplar approach for other areas of the BBC to emulate'.


  • Nearly 66% of staff are aged 30-49, with 40% of SMs aged 40-49.
  • The BBC has sexual orientation data for 54% of its workforce, with nearly 4% of all staff stating they are gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The report can be read here.


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