Why publish diversity data?

The BSA aims to help make all aspects of science more relevant, more representative, and more connected to everyday life. This includes effectively reaching and engaging people and communities who are underrepresented in science and science engagement.

The BSA has been monitoring staff EDI data since 2017 and we published this data publicly for the first time in 2020. We believe that publishing our data is an important indication of our commitment to the EDI agenda. By demonstrating our openness and willingness to learn from best practice, we strengthen our position to encourage others in doing the same.

Limitations and considerations

Our data is incomplete

Our response rate is usually ~78%; although it varies each year. Therefore, we recognise that our data sets are not complete. However, despite the limitations and caveats of incomplete datasets, we believe that publishing our data remains helpful for our organisation's – and our sector's – goals on EDI.

Our benchmark

Our staff team is predominantly London-based, but an increasing number are located elsewhere in the UK. This – and the fact that we are a UK-wide charity – means we are aiming to be more representative of the UK population. We also look at other data sets for benchmarking (e.g. voluntary sector workforce).

We acknowledge that some of the categories (e.g. ethnicity, gender identity) are amalgamations however, these are in line with current reporting in national datasets. If, for instance, the term ‘BAME’ is dropped in favour of a more granular approach, we will update our ethnicity classification categories once new guidance is released.

Other dimensions of diversity

Socio-economic status

Alongside the Equality Act protected characteristics, we are interested in many other dimensions of diversity, especially those that are under-represented in science and science engagement. One aspect we would like to improve is our measurement and understanding of socio-economic status.

Our survey includes questions about Free School Meals however, there may be more reliable measures. We hope to implement recommendations from EDIS Group’s DAISY guidance to try and improve future measurement of the socio-economic status of staff and trustees.

2022 data

Overall, our staff body is younger than our Council (the BSA’s board of trustees) and are less diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity. 

Gender identity

  • While the balance between men : women is typically stronger on Council than on the staff team, the % of men has reduced somewhat since 2020
  • The proportion of men : women on the staff team has increased slightly since 2020, but at 22% men are still under-represented compared with the charity and voluntary sector average of 33%.

PNTS - Prefer not to say

Chart depicting BSA council and staff members reporting on gender identity. The table below describes the same data.

Man Woman Gender other PNTS
BSA Staff 2020 14% 81% 0% 4%
BSA Staff 2021 20% 73% 0% 7%
BSA Staff 2022 22% 70% 0% 7%
BSA Council 2020 40% 60% 0% 0%
BSA Council 2021 56% 44% 0% 0%
BSA Council 2022 33% 67% 0% 0%


Collectively 73% of respondents described their ethnic origin as White (British, Irish or other White). 

  • Staff: 74% (a decrease of 13% since 2021)
  • Council: 67% (an increase of 17% since 2020)

This compares to approx. 86% of the England and Wales population and 61% of the London population.

Chart depicting BSA council and staff members reporting on ethnicity. The table below describes the same data.

Other ethnic group Mixed/Multiple Asian/Asian British Black/African/Caribbean/Black British White PNTS/DK
BSA Staff 2020 0% 4% 4% 12% 73% 8%
BSA Staff 2021 0% 0% 9% 0% 87% 3%
BSA Staff 2022 4% 7% 11% 0% 74% 4%
BSA Council 2020 0% 0% 20% 10% 50% 20%
BSA Council 2021 0% 0% 21% 10% 67% 0%
BSA Council 2022 17% 0% 17% 0% 67% 0%


  • The proportion of staff respondents within the 21-30 age range has declined somewhat, while the proportion 41 and above has grown;
  • 50% of Council respondents are within the 51-60 age range, compared to 11% of staff.

Other characteristics

  • Neurodiversity – 15% of staff consider themselves to be neurodiverse, an increase of 5% compared to 2021 although the same level as in 2020.
  • Caring responsibilities – The proportion of staff and Council members with caring responsibilities has grown (collectively, 54% of respondents have some form of caring responsibility (compared with 43% in 2021 and 39% in 2020).
  • Sexual orientation – 79% of all respondents consider their sexual orientation to be Heterosexual, broadly the same as in 2020 & 2021.
  • Long-term illness or disability – 15% of staff responded positively to this question, an increase of 5% from 2021, but broadly stable on an average of 13% over the last five years.
  • Social mobility – 18% of collective respondents were eligible for free school meals – an increase from 13% in 2021.
  • Religion or belief – Collectively, 61% of respondents selected ‘no religion or belief / atheist’ (compared with 59% in 2021).

Diagram of other characteristics measured (as listed above) and whether they have improved or not at the BSA between 2020 and 2022.