• Sunday, July 03, 2022

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Minorities three times less likely to win a place in elite graduate scheme, data shows

FILE PHOTO: British Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell (centre L) accompanies Queen Elizabeth II (C) as she meets civil servants during her visit to the Cabinet Office in central London on June 11, 2010. (LEON NEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

NEW figures have revealed that people from minority backgrounds were three times less likely than White British applicants to gain entry to the government’s Civil Service Fast Stream programme.  

The government skills and curriculum unit has recently published figures covering the last three years’ worth of recruitment for the elite graduate scheme.

The data has revealed yawning ethnic inequalities in the number of people recruited onto the scheme, which is designed to fast-track successful applicants into senior positions in government.

According to the report, as many as 122,000 applicants from White backgrounds applied between 2019 and 2021, and just over 2,700 won a place – a success rate of 1 in 44.

The success rate among ethnic minorities was just 1.5 per cent in 2019, which was reduced to 1.4 per cent last year.

In 2019, as many as 7,666 people from Asian backgrounds have applied and 101 were recommended for appointment, a success rate of 1.3 per cent. In 2020, 105 people got a place in the scheme, but the success rate was reduced to 1.2 per cent. Last year, 8,232 people from Asian backgrounds applied for these positions and 115 got selected, with a success rate of 1.4 per cent.

While 14,042 applicants from Black African, Caribbean and other Black backgrounds applied, just 98 won a place during the last three years– a success rate of 1 in 143.

According to the Labour Party, the government has not provided a breakdown of the ethnic backgrounds of external applicants to the Fast Stream in 2021, which has previously been published each year since 2010.

That data has instead been combined with the figures for all recruitment, including internal schemes, making it impossible to compare success rates for external applicants from different ethnic backgrounds this year to previous ones, the party said in a statement.

“It’s a disgrace that young people from Black African backgrounds are still three times less likely than their White counterparts to win a place on the Government’s elite graduate scheme,” said Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary.

“The fact that you have a 1 in 44 shot at success if you’re White and a 1 in 143 chance, if you’re Black, shows just how far ministers are falling short of their promise to make the civil service the UK’s most inclusive employer.”

She added that conservative incompetence and denial of the existence of structural racism are creating barriers to success for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

“Labour has a plan to dismantle those barriers and support talented black, Asian and minority ethnic people to reach their full potential, with a new Race Equality Act to tackle structural racial inequality at source,” the shadow minister pointed out.

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