After publishing statistics which show the diversity of staff in their workforce, Buckingham Palace has admitted that there is still more work that needs to be done.
The reports released by the Palace show that employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds only make up 8.5 per cent of its workforce. As such, the royal household have set themselves a target to increase this to 10 per cent by next year (2022).
A senior palace source stated that this data had been released to the public so there would “be no place to hide”. The source continued by saying:
We fully expect you to come back and hold us accountable for the progress that we make and if we don’t make the progress we’ll have to explain why. And so I think this is a significant step about disclosing information that previously has just been monitored internally.
This number is significantly lower than the proportion of ethnically diverse people in the UK, which stood at 14 per cent in 2018.
However, the palace source emphasised that the lack of representation was not a result of failing to prioritise diversity and inclusion initiatives:
We’re not where we would like to be despite our efforts.
It is not that we have not been progressing diversity and inclusion initiatives during this period. It is that simply the results have not been what we would like.
We have continuous engagement with external advisers, organisations that are at the grassroots level who sit on our steering committee, people who are able to give us a different voice, a different perspective. And we recognise that we must do more.
In addition, a separate report for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall also showed that only 8 per cent of their workforce were from ethnically diverse backgrounds. However, three-fifths (60 per cent) are female. A spokesperson for Clarence House stated:
On that question of ethnic minority diversity we are not where we need to be.
This is not withstanding a great deal of work that we’ve been doing to target our recruitment, to work with an ever increasing number of partners who will help us to improve those figures, to train our managers to make sure that we work together to build a more inclusive workplace… we are determined to do better.
In March, Buckingham Palace was reported to have begun a review into diversity policies across the royal household, with a greater emphasis on promoting inclusion. This included the Palace considering hiring a diversity officer but this has since been denied.