Nicola Sturgeon pledges to increase diversity within Scottish Government

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is committed to increasing the number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds working within the organisation.

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Scottish Labour MSP Anas Sarwar asked Ms Sturgeon if she would back plans to increase diversity in workplaces across Scotland.

The proposals include conducting a regular audit of Scotland’s public sector and implementing a rule to ensure ethnic minority candidates are included on job shortlists.

Mr Sarwar, with the support of the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe), on Thursday published a report highlighting the under-representation of minorities working in the public sector.

Among its findings, it showed only 1.8% of civil servants are from a diverse background, with only 10 ethnic minority civil servants at the most senior level.

It also found the percentage of non-white employees in Scottish councils is below 1% in 21 local authority areas.

Scottish Labour MSP Anas Sarwar
Scottish Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, working with SPICe, published a report on Thursday highlighting under-representation in Scotland’s public sector (Jane Barlow/PA)

Responding to Mr Sarwar, the First Minister said she would ask the Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans to consider all of the proposals put forward by the Labour MSP and indicated they would consult on how best to take them forward.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I absolutely agree with the sentiments behind Anas Sarwar’s question.

“The Scottish Government, as an employer, is absolutely determined to increase the numbers of ethnic minorities working within the organisation.

“They are under-represented in the Scottish Government right now, as will be the case for many organisations and employers.

“Just as it is important that we redress that imbalance in gender, it is also vital that we do so for ethnic minorities and the Scottish Government as an employer is absolutely committed to doing so and committed to encouraging other employers to take similar action.”

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