Of HMRC’s current 69,314 employees, only 4,270 are recorded as coming from a BAME or ethnically diverse background.
From 2010 to 2014, the proportion of HMRC’s white work force has risen from 64.5% to 68.2%, despite successive staffing cuts.
That there are four times as many people whose ethnicity they don’t know, than people who are recorded from BAME backgrounds in 2014 is a big problem.
Additionally, while the percentage of known BAME employees stands at 6.2%, the proportion of unknown or unrecorded employees currently is currently four times higher, sitting at just over 25%.
ICAEW fellow Jonathan Lamptey, who is also a diversity researcher at the London School of Economics (LSE), said that although some of the information was disappointing and required room for improvement, HMRC deserved praise for its transparency.
Lamptey said, “That there are four times as many people whose ethnicity they don’t know, than people who are recorded from BAME backgrounds in 2014 is a big problem.
“While the percentage of recorded BAME people has increased by 1% since 2010, the reality of the situation could be very different.
“However, I am confident that HMRC is ahead of the accountancy profession; the profession is not as transparent as the Revenue in this case.”
The charity Business in the community (BITC), which focuses on work place equality, described the level of BAME workers as proportionally low, saying that one in 10 of the UK’s working population comes from an ethnically diverse background.
BITC recently published race at the top, a report highlighting the need for UK businesses to improve on the proportionally poor level of BAME people (also one in 16) in management positions across the UK economy.
HMRC said it would take measures to improve the situation, including actions such as ensuring recruiters and managers undertake mandatory diversity and unconscious bias training, as well as monitoring external and internal recruitment processes.
A HMRC spokesperson said, “HMRC wants to represent and reflect the community it serves. This includes employing the same proportion of ethnic minority people as that of the general UK population at all levels of the department.
“We recognise that ethnic minorities are underrepresented at some levels of the organisation and are taking a positive approach to address this imbalance which we’re seeing early evidence of in our senior management grades.”