By Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association

One of the commitments we made in our 2020 EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Action Plan, following best practice in other sectors, was to publish our organisation’s demographic data. Today, we launch the first report illustrating the British Science Association’s (BSA) workforce diversity.

The data in this report is accurate as of October 2020.

Download the full report

We want the BSA to be as representative of UK society as possible, representative not only in terms of the protected characteristics but also socio-economic background and science identity, amongst other attributes. We think our workforce diversity should aim to reflect that of the UK (rather than London, where our office is based) and around one-sixth of our staff are now based outside London. We also aim to report that those who work at the BSA view it as an inclusive environment.

Much of our work focuses on audiences who are under-served by, and underrepresented in, science. Diversity in our staff and Trustees ensures we understand and meet the needs of different audiences, thus creating events and programmes that are relevant and engaging. We are also seeking other ways to ensure our core audiences’ views are sought, heard and used to inform our programme development work.

We have collected demographic data from staff and Trustees since 2016. This has enabled us to determine how representative the BSA is at all levels of our organisation, as well as helping us identify which groups are underrepresented and where we require additional consultation in programme development and implementation. In deciding to make this from hereon, we seek to be open about where we are in our EDI journey and which demographics, in particular, we need to concentrate our efforts on involving in our work.

So far, we have set new benchmarks in recruitment – by gender, ethnicity and disability – to achieve a more representative sample of our recruitment shortlist. As of last year, we also blind applications to further minimise potential biases.

As mentioned above, we aim to increase representation of those from socio-economic backgrounds underrepresented in the science and science engagement sectors. Though our staff survey included a question asking whether respondents were eligible for Free School Meals, we understand there may be more reliable ways of establishing socio-economic background. We will continue to improve how we measure this, keeping abreast of developments in the EDIS Group’s DAISY guidance, and work to embed it into our recruitment process. These are just the first steps in our commitment to being more transparent about the current BSA workforce, and becoming more inclusive going forward.

For more information, visit the EDI section of our website.