Race recruitment and retention - an instigation for change: action plan

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.

What does our data tell us?

Equality data management, analysis, and reporting is at the core of our commitment to evidence-based policy making. We analyse race data from a range of sources including our electronic HR system (e-HR) where employees can update their diversity information; Unless stated otherwise, the diversity information presented in this report has been analysed by calendar year and includes Scottish Government Core Departments, Executive Agencies and Non Ministerial Departments. Results are presented from the Core Scottish Government‘s annual Civil Service People Survey, which helps us understand employees’ workplace experiences in the survey undertaken in August 2020 to support the development of this Plan, as well as the Diversity and Inclusion. We recognise that individuals’ experiences are shaped by their own diverse background and identities, and where possible we conduct intersectional analysis as well. 

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.
    • In 2019 Graduate Development programme, 10% of invitees were from ethnic minorities compared to 7% in 2017.
    • In 2020, 40% of the delegates at our Future Leaders Diversity Conference identified as minority ethnic. 
  • Rates of minority ethnic promotion have fluctuated over the past two years: in 2019 bringing minority ethnic staff comprised 1.9% of promotions. Minority ethnic promotions in line with minority ethnic workforce composition. However the number of minority ethnic promotions in 2020 were too small to report.
  • 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 (TRS). 
  • 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 SG.


Email: Diversityteam@gov.scot

Back to top