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Bank of England admits it's not on track to hit diversity targets

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Governor Mark Carney. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire/PA Images

The Bank of England has admitted it is not on track to meet its diversity targets for senior posts by 2022.

Current strategies to make the bank more reflective of modern Britain appear unlikely to achieve one key aim, which is to ensure 13% of senior figures are from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds by 2022.

But Lea Paterson, the central bank’s executive director for human resources, said it is on track to ensure 20% of staff below senior management are BAME by next year.

The problems hitting targets are revealed in minutes of a meeting of the bank’s directors last month, which were published today by the bank.

READ MORE: Why the Bank of England’s workplace is a ‘glimpse into the past’

39% of graduates offered places to start work at the bank in 2019 are BAME and 47% are female, according to the documents.

Staff members present called for “more specific accountability for the agenda and for the targets,” saying senior officials’ commitment was clear but had to “filter down more effectively.”

There was a call for senior managers to have specific diversity and inclusion targets, and also a demand for “wider recognition of BAME issues.”

The governor Mark Carney is reported to have “welcomed the discussion,” and said sponsorship at a high level was important.

He said he sensed the “dial was already shifting,” and said the organisation would continue to carefully monitor its own record on internal promotions and recruitment.

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The governor also said shifting recruitment away from economics graduates alone, recruiting from a wider skills base and providing more training, had helped the bank reach a “tipping point” on gender. He hoped it could do the same for BAME recruitment.

It comes after parliament’s public accounts committee recently demanded more action to achieve its aims to increase female and BAME staff numbers.

MPs called parts of the bank’s culture a ‘”glimpse into the past,” and said they were concerned BAME staff made up 18% of the workforce but 23% of those leaving it.  The minutes show one person present at last month’s meeting admitted retention was a “critical issue.”