The Bank of England is off track in its mission to improve the diversity of staff after figures showed a fall last year in the share of senior jobs held by women and ethnic minority employees.
The Bank’s annual report reveals that the proportion of women in senior roles fell from 30% to 29% while the share of black and minority ethnic (BME) staff in senior positions fell from 6% to 5%.
The governor, Mark Carney, is likely to be embarrassed by the figures after he set targets to push the number of women at the top of the organisation to 35% and BME senior officials to 13% by 2020.
It means Threadneedle Street, which has monitored the proportion of women and BME staff since 2015, has a huge amount of ground to make up in just two years.
A spokeswoman for the Bank said: “It’s clear that we need to re-double our efforts. We have put in place a sponsorship programme that nominates candidates for intense mentoring. We have also introduced anonymous recruitment, which means removing all personal information in the initial selection process.”
Carney has used several speeches in recent years to emphasise his commitment to increasing the number of women and BME staff at the Bank.
Last year he said: “Historically, there were times when this institution was run by the City for the City.
“Frequent charges levelled at this central bank – like many of our peers – include being mono-culture, secretive and ridden with groupthink.”
He pledged to increase diversity and inclusiveness to make the Bank’s 4,378 staff more in tune with the modern economy.
But he is hampered by procedures that mean some staff are appointed by the government.The Treasury recently appointed a white man to the bank’s monetary policy committee from a shortlist of five that included four women.
The decision was taken despite Nicky Morgan, who chairs the Treasury select committee, calling last year for the chancellor, Philip Hammond, to ask for confirmation from the bank that everything is being done to encourage gender and ethnic diversity among applicants for roles on its policy committees.
Overall, the number of women outside the senior ranks working at the Bank has only risen from 44% to 45% in the last four years and the number of BME staff in the same category has only grown from 16% to 18%. The bank aims to reach targets of 50% and 20% respectively.
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