BBC sparks fallout over 'BAME-only' job advertisement

BBC sparks fallout over 'BAME-only' job advertisement

The BBC has sparked a fallout, after advertising an internship scheme only open to candidates from a black, Asian or non-white ethnic minority background.

The job advert, posted on the World Service, was lambasted by Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who said it was positive discrimination. He told MailOnline: “It's disappointing because all the figures now indicate that those most in need of a leg up and most struggling in our education system are white boys from deprived backgrounds.

“It's positive discrimination – and I thought that discrimination on the grounds of race, sexuality, or gender was illegal.”

The 12-month trainee broadcast journalist post was described as an opportunity for “budding news junkies to gain hands on experience at a national and international level with the iconic BBC World Service,” and paid the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour.

The BBC have defended the job advert, stating it doesn't qualify as discriminatory.

A spokesman explained: “The scheme is organised by Creative Access, an independent organisation dedicated to increasing diversity in the creative industries, whose other partners include ITV, United Agents, Faber and Faber, and John Murray. This is not a job, but simply a training and development opportunity.

“This training scheme is designed as a positive action scheme to address an identified under-representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in certain roles. Such schemes are allowed under the Equality Act and we're proud to be taking part.”

Whilst the job advert underlines the BBC’s commitment to equal opportunities, it is likely to be misconstrued for excluding applicants. But it is legal.

Furthermore, with a recent Government report finding ‘entrenched’ racial disparities between life outcomes across different ethnicities in the UK, with the unemployment rate for BAME jobseekers nearly double what it is for their white counterparts – the BBC’s intentions are fair.

Recently, HR Grapevine spoke to, Kathryn Beaven, Global Sustainability Director at DP World, about the importance of making diversity a priority. “DP World is a global company, with different cultures, laws and challenges in each region,” she said. “We are focused on making sure the importance and impact of diversity is part of our business.”

As part of this plan, they have unleashed a training course on diversity and inclusion. “The specific modules on diversity and inclusion included important sections on gender equality, which helped engage our employees on these vital issues,” Beaven adds. 

Comments (4)

  • Alex Mustang
    Alex Mustang
    Sun, 3 Dec 2017 7:38pm GMT
    If they're offering a wage and a contract of employment, I wouldn't like to argue this as positive action. Granted its a intern position with the view to up skilling, and I understand that from within an organisation, but I think externally it opens a backdoor to the positive discrimination argument.
  • Rauf Mirza
    Rauf Mirza
    Thu, 30 Nov 2017 1:20pm GMT
    I don't usually agree with the BBC on many matters but in this case-Well done the BBC! Positive Action is the only way forward after many decades of companies and public sector organisations ignoring the entrenched status of BAME communities being discriminated in employment and in job applications. That Tory MP should first begin to understand the situation in more detail before complaining and making naive statements like this.
  • Daniel
    Thu, 30 Nov 2017 9:51am GMT
    This is great move BBC. It demonstrates that you care about all citizens including those that are under-represented in your great institution. Please ignore all the objectors in this particular case.
  • Jane
    Wed, 29 Nov 2017 1:39pm GMT
    Well done BBC. I hope it inspires other employers whose diversity mix is low to do the same.
  • Amanda Connolly
    Amanda Connolly
    Wed, 29 Nov 2017 1:10pm GMT
    What a joke that Conservative MP is, has he seen the white middle class demograph of the BBC, its ridiculous, This is a much needed initiative.

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