Defence has been working hard to achieve a more diverse workforce. However, progress in terms of the representative rates of our people – both military and civilian – has been too slow. It is clear there is still much further to go if we are to successfully attract and retain diverse talent both now and in the future. That is why we are renewing our levels of ambition at the highest levels in Defence as we work to fulfil the key objective in our 2018-2030 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to eliminate discrimination and improve diversity throughout Defence.
Since 2015 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been working towards a target for 10% of recruits into the Armed Forces to be from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background by April 2020, rising to 20% thereafter. These are challenging targets demonstrating the importance Defence places on having Armed Forces reflecting the society they serve. I am pleased to confirm the latest statistics show we have now exceeded the initial intake target as 11.7% of recruits were Black, Asian or from an ethnic minority in the 12 months to 31 March 2020. While this is an improvement, there is further long-term progress to be made and sustained. Ongoing work to improve all aspects of diversity in MOD continues, includes better understanding and greater engagement with the communities the Armed Forces want to recruit from; reviewing recruitment processes; and better targeting marketing and communications.
As at 1 April 2020, the numbers of UK Regular full-time Service personnel who had declared their ethnicity as BAME and were serving at NATO Rank OF-6 or above (Brigadier and equivalent) were five or fewer in each Service. In addition, fewer than five Senior Civil Servants employed in each Command had declared their ethnicity as BAME. In line with standard statistical disclosure methodology, the percentages associated with these figures have been suppressed to ensure individuals are not inadvertently identified.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) publishes biannual statistics on diversity declarations for Armed Forces personnel and MOD civilian staff. The latest editions can be found at the following links: