Race recruitment and retention action plan: equality impact assessment

The results of the equality impact assessment for the race recruitment and retention action plan. Summarising the plan's intent, the key findings and recommendations.

Equality Impact Assessment Results

Title of Policy

Scottish Government Race Recruitment and Retention Action Plan.

Summary of aims and desired outcomes for policy

Our race recruitment and retention action plan details the action we will take to deliver our vision to be a world-leading diverse employer where racial equality is achieved. The Plan's anti-racist approach covers five priorities to redistribute power and foster cultural change.

Directorate: Division: Team

Director General Corporate; People Directorate; People Development;

Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Executive summary

The Scottish Government Race Recruitment and Retention Action Plan sets out the action we will take to deliver on our vision to be a world-leading diverse and inclusive employer, where racial equality is achieved.

It was developed in partnership with the Council of Scottish Government Unions and in collaboration with our Race Equality Network and external race-focused organisations. Most importantly, at the heart of the Plan are the voices and views of minority ethnic employees in Scottish Government, who have the right to flourish in our organisation and to be valued because of the diverse experiences, backgrounds and views they bring which enrich our organisation and improve our performance.


The purpose of the Action Plan is to deliver on Scottish Government's vision is to be a world-leading diverse and inclusive employer, where structural and institutional racism is eliminated and racial equality is achieved. In March 2020, the Scottish Government made a commitment to develop a Race Recruitment and Retention Plan in the Race Equality Action Plan Year 2 Progress Report.

An anti-racist approach sits at the heart of the development and delivery of this Plan. This means that:

  • We recognise that there is no such thing as a race neutral policy, and that every people policy or decision we make has the power to create racial equality or inequality for our employees.
  • We are focused on changing systems, organisational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.

Scope of the EQIA

The Plan allows Scottish Government as an employer to critically review how we impact our policies and processes around recruitment, retention and progression for our minority ethnic colleagues and to consider what impacts apply intersectionally. As we continue to develop an inclusive workplace culture for all staff.

The Plan is built around five priorities focused on the whole system, aiming to redistribute power and bring about cultural change.

Key Priority 1: Embedding Responsibility and Accountability

Outcome: There is ownership of the plan at individual, corporate and leadership levels, and people are taking effective action to implement the Race Recruitment and Retention Action Plan.

Key Priority 2: Leadership, Governance and Decision Making

Outcome: Senior leaders take the lead and champion the Race Recruitment and Retention Action Plan incorporating an equity lens in all leadership and people-related policies, processes and decision they make.

Key Priority 3: Recruitment and Representation

Outcome: Minority ethnic employees are represented at all levels and in all areas, particularly within senior levels and management structures.

Key Priority 4: Career progression and promotion

Outcome: Minority ethnic employees experience equality of opportunity and are optimistic about being able to fulfil their potential in Scottish Government.

Key Priority 5: Building an anti-racist culture

Outcome: Our workplace culture is inclusive, collaborative, accountable and enables the skills, talent, experiences and diversity of our minority ethnic employees to flourish.

Key findings

We looked at data gathered through our annual People Survey; employee workforce data; recruitment data; a Diversity and Inclusion survey; and focus groups held in summer 2020.

From this we learned that we have made clear gains in terms of representation and inclusion:

  • Minority Ethnic staff increasingly comprise more of the organisation's workforce, rising from 1.5% to 2.4% between 2015 and 2020, and this trend is also reflected within every pay banding. In 2020 4% of staff in the DG Health and Social Care were from minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • In 2020 2.4% of Senior Civil Service (SCS) in Scottish Government came from minority ethnic backgrounds (this peaked at 3.4% in 2019).
  • The proportion of minority ethnic recruits rose from 1.8% in 2016 to 3.3% in 2020. Our targeted approaches to recruitment, community outreach, marketing, selection process have had a positive impact on recruitment campaigns:
    • In our 2018 Band B recruitment, of those 440 interviewed 5.91% were ethnic minority people.
  • Rates of minority ethnic promotion have fluctuated over the past two years: in 2019, minority ethnic staff comprised of 1.9% of promotions. Minority ethnic promotions aligning with minority ethnic workforce composition.
  • The Inclusion & Fair Treatment theme score within the core of Scottish Government's 2019 Civil Service People Survey was 8.3% positive for minority staff, and at 74% their Engagement Index was 6 percentage points above white colleagues.

However, still inequalities persist when it comes to race:

  • At 2.4% of our overall workforce, our proportion of minority ethnic staff is still far short of our ambition to be representative of the Scottish population, where visible minority ethnic groups make up 5%. We know that at our current rate of growth we will fall short of our 2025 ambition.
  • The data appears to show that minority ethnic staff on the whole receive less favourable appraisal markings than white colleagues, In 2020, 35.3% of minority ethnic and 53.9% of white staff received the two highest appraisal markings ('highly effective' or 'exceptional').
  • Minority ethnic staff are under represented amongst employees who have received a Temporary Responsibility Supplement.
  • Our mean ethnicity pay gap is wider than our gender pay gap, at 7.27% in 2020.
  • Minority ethnic people still experience higher levels of discrimination than the rest of the workforce and we know that where sex intersects with race there are different outcomes, too. For example minority ethnic women report higher rates than the average, higher than women in general and higher than minority ethnic men. This is important to understand and unpack so we don't risk taking a gender-blind or colour-blind approach to our interventions. And though falling, bullying and harassment levels are unacceptably high.
  • Around half of the minority ethnic respondents to the Diversity and Inclusion survey said they have equal access to apply for (47.2%) jobs and development opportunities (50%) compared with almost three quarters of white respondents.
  • In the same survey, minority ethnic respondents were also less likely to agree that their current responsibilities are a good match for their experience and skills (56% compared with 74.6% of white respondents), and that before they are able to fulfil their potential in Scottish Government.

We further undertook a Desk review of available research:

  • Race in the workplace: The McGregor-Smith Review.
  • Addressing the barriers to Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Employee Career
  • progression to the top (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)
  • Poverty and Ethnicity in the Labour Market (Joseph Rowntree Foundation)
  • Still Not Visible – Research on Black and Minority ethnic women's experiences of employment in Scotland (Close The Gap)

Which highlighted persistent inequalities and the impact of race intersecting with other characteristics such as sex and socio economic background.

Recommendations and conclusion

Overall, we identified overwhelming positive impacts across the 3 general equality duty needs for almost all protected characteristics. We identified no negative impacts.

The equality impact assessment exposed both the importance of working intersectionally – particularly across sex, age, disability and LGBTI – but also the lack of internal data we have to do this effectively and to monitor its impact effectively. Throughout the equality impact assessment we have needed to make assumptions about impact which relies on action owners adopting an intersectional approach. We are increasingly working in this way but there is a need to build capability and understanding of what this means in practice. We also need to ensure we increase diversity declaration across all categories to enable intersectional analysis.

The intersectional data we do have, did result in specific actions being included in the Plan e.g. undertaking qualitative research to listen to and learn from lived experiences of minority ethnic colleagues to understand why they, particularly women, experience higher rates of discrimination,

bullying and harassment, and feel less comfortable talking to senior leaders about their actions.

The equality impact assessment should be reviewed when further intersectional data becomes available.


Email: diversityteam@gov.scot

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