Minority workers 'chronically under-represented' in Scotland’s public sector, Anas Sarwar warns
Black and minority ethnic (BAME) workers make up less than two per cent of the civil service in Scotland, according to new research by Labour MSP Anas Sarwar and the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.
Speaking at the BAME into Leadership conference today, run by Holyrood’s parent company Dods, Sarwar will warn that with non-white people making up around four per cent of the Scottish population, minority workers are “chronically under-represented” in Scotland’s public sector.
The research found there are just 10 ethnic minority civil servants at the most senior level, while the percentage of non-white employees is below one per cent in 21 local authority areas, with the proportion falling to 0.1 per cent in some instances.
Launching the findings with a call for a full audit of senior, managerial or leadership roles across the public sector, Sarwar said: “Greater diversity doesn’t just mean a more representative workforce, it also means a more informed workforce that influences mainstream decision-making.
“Discrimination is more than just abuse or threats, it also impacts on life chances and outcomes including people not getting jobs or missing out on promotion.”
The work found that just 3.3 per cent of NHS employees, one per cent of Police Scotland officers and police staff and 3.2 per cent of board members are non-white.
Sarwar said: “This research is just a starting point and there needs to be a full audit of senior, managerial or leadership roles across the public sector and beyond.
“One mechanism that employers can put in place to help address the workforce gap is to include a requirement for at least one BAME candidate, where at least one has applied, to be shortlisted for an interview for a vacancy. This will not automatically mean that more BAME people will be appointed, but it will at least increase the likelihood of it happening.
“Scotland is also the only country in the UK with a statutory gender representation objective for public boards, and that is a principle which could also be applied to BAME representation, and I would welcome talks with the Scottish Government about that.”