Tony Hall: Creating a more diverse BBC is the right thing to do. I am committed to leading the way
From equal pay to BAME & LGBT representation, the BBC is determined to be at the forefront of change so that its workforce reflects the diversity of its audience, says Tony Hall
Diversity really matters – for me and for the BBC. As an organisation, we are here to represent and serve everyone – all the cultures and diverse voices that make the UK what it is.
As a creative organisation, we need to tell stories that people all across the country will recognise, will understand and will relate to.
And that means having a BBC which looks like the UK and embraces the widest range of voices and views as possible. It also means creating a culture which understands and thrives on our differences. That’s why I’ve made it a priority to create an organisation which is more diverse on and off air. It is also – rightly – an area in which parliamentarians and our regulator Ofcom have challenged us – and expect us – to be a leader and at the forefront of change.
At the BBC we strive to be, and we should be, a great place to work. There’s a lot we’re doing that we can be proud of and we’ve made good progress, but not enough people are fulfilling their potential. In some areas, we simply haven’t moved fast enough, but I’m determined we should lead the way.
We have already set ourselves on- and off-air targets that are as broad and challenging as any in the UK media industry, and with 14.8 per cent of our workforce from BAME backgrounds we’re more diverse than we’ve ever been.
But this still isn’t good enough and that is why we’ve set out some bold steps to make real changes.
Let’s start at the top with the leadership of the organisation. We are committing to having at least two members of my Executive Committee who are black, Asian or from other ethnic minorities by the end of 2020, and we’ll do the same for every divisional leadership team.
On top of that, we will change recruitment to our senior levels. By the end of summer, we’ll have a new policy in place to ensure that shortlists for senior roles include at least one BAME candidate.
I believe these steps will make a real difference.
On gender, we are making progress, but challenging ourselves to go further, faster. Our median gender pay gap has fallen from 9.3% to 7.6% over the past year – less than half the national average – and addressed many issues people have raised with us over pay. We’ve gone further than other organisations in saying we’ll close the gender pay gap by the end of 2020, and we’ve also set out much more we’re doing to achieve a 50:50 gender mix across the BBC – including in senior leadership and on-air roles. This month we published the findings of a review by BBC Scotland Director Donalda MacKinnon setting out how we will sweep away other barriers to women progressing.
We’re also doing work to look at what more we can do to help people with disabilities and our LGBT staff succeed and progress at the BBC, along with a project on social mobility to ensure the BBC is open to everyone, regardless of background. We’ll report back on these three areas later in the year and set out what more we will do. On social mobility, in particular, we’ve already done a lot – creating hundreds of apprenticeships and removing people’s education details from CVs when we recruit some roles – but there’s more to do.
I know not everyone agrees with what we’re doing. They say we’re being ‘too PC’.
I disagree. This is about creating the best BBC for everyone. It’s about creating a BBC that is truly open to everyone. It’s about reflecting and representing the whole of the UK, not just parts of it.
Creating a more diverse BBC requires the commitment and focus of the whole organisation. It is the right, creative, thing to do. I am absolutely committed to leading the way.
Lord Tony Hall is Director General of the BBC