A more diverse BBC

The targets we have set ourselves to reach by 2020 are among the most ambitious and stretching of any organisation. We know there’s plenty more to do - and no room for complacencyTony Hall, Director-General
Date: 02.03.2017     Last updated: 10.03.2017 at 09.30
Category: Corporate
Diversity is vital to a modern BBC. We’re there for everyone - so we need to reflect and represent the whole of the UK. The Government also demands that we take a lead on diversity - it’s written into our Charter.

Attracting and developing great talent - whatever their background - both on and off air, is a priority

Nearly a year after we launched our ambitious strategy to hardwire diversity into everything the BBC does, today we’re unveiling the results of our recent and most comprehensive staff census that shows the BBC has met its 2017 targets - and is well on the way to hitting our 2020 goals:

  • 14.5% of our workforce are from black, Asian or minority ethnic background, including more than 10% of our leadership.
  • Over 48% of our staff are women - approaching the 50% target set for 2020.
  • Over 10% identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender.
  • More than 10% of our staff have told us they have a disability - already ahead of the goal for 2020.

Speaking at the Creative and Cultural Skills annual conference in Thurrock, Director-General Tony Hall welcomed the progress - but insisted there must be no complacency.

He said: “Getting the very best at the BBC means making sure we draw on all of the country’s diverse talent.

“Ours is already one of the most diverse workforces in the UK - as far as we know, we’re more diverse than any other major broadcaster, more diverse than the civil service, more diverse than any FTSE100 company that reports its figures.

“But the targets we have set ourselves to reach by 2020 are among the most ambitious and stretching of any organisation. For the BBC, it’s right that that’s the case.”

He added: “We know there’s plenty more to do - and no room for complacency. So we’re looking at how we can go further. For me, one of the real priorities is to get more women, and more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, into our most senior leadership positions.”

Some of the schemes established as part of our diversity and inclusion strategy have delivered clear results.

Over 30 interns from black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds joined us through our Creative Access scheme, with more than three quarters becoming members of BBC staff. Five of the six individuals who joined our first Clore Leadership programme are in roles at the BBC, with one becoming our executive editor for BBC Africa. This year we have expanded the programme to include candidates with a disability.

We have programmes across the Corporation such as the BBC News Leadership programme - more than half on it are women - and a £1m scheme for journalists with disabilities launched last week.

On air we’ve also made big strides in reflecting the full diversity of the UK. Our Assistant Commissioner development programme has been successful, creating content that is as diverse and brilliant as BBC audiences expect - including The Black And British season (pictured), and programmes from Muslims Like Us, World Hip Hop News to the Instant Gardener.

Programmes like Will Britain Ever Have A Black Prime Minister? on BBC Two have looked in depth at the experiences of black people in Britain today, and Call The Midwife has put challenging stories about disability and ethnicity at the front and centre of Sunday night viewing.

BBC Three continues to give a platform to emerging and diverse talent, with the upcoming Five By Five series of shorts and The Break, which showcases five up-and-coming writers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Tony Hall also highlighted the BBC's progress in improving social mobility. He highlighted the growth in apprenticeships from 37 in 2012 to 230 this year, with an aim to have more than 400 by 2018.

He also singled out the work of the Radio 1 Academy's programme of events and workshops designed to give young people the information, tools and inspiration they need to succeed in a creative career; and the initiative to have Young Ambassadors at BBC North - young people from the local area with no qualifications and little or no experience in a working environment - but plenty of ideas and potential.

He said: “We want to inspire, support, and champion young people, wherever they are. And we want to create fair access for graduates and non-graduates alike, so that both routes can pave the way equally to success in our industry.”

Notes to Editors

Workforce (All staff and Leadership levels)

2017 Target

2020 Target

Staff census 2016

Women (all staff)




Women (leadership)




Disability (all staff)




Disability (leadership)




Black Asian and ethnic minorities (all staff)




Black Asian and ethnic minorities (leadership)









BBC Press Office