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Report gives snapshot of city council’s workforce diversity

Published on Wednesday, October 25, 2017

THE workforce of Leicester City Council continues to compare well with other cities in reflecting the diversity and ethnic makeup of the city itself, according to recent figures. 

The city council’s latest employment monitoring report for 2016-2017 looks at the council’s workforce in terms of gender, age, ethnic background, disability and faith, and compares them to the city’s population as a whole.

Councils have to produce these reports by law, to show that workforces are reflective of the communities they serve. The figures are also compared to similar-sized councils elsewhere, and to the national workforce.

Figures show Leicester City Council’s workforce has declined every year from 2010, and at 31 March 2017 totalled 6,664 staff (5,473 full-time equivalents), of which 96 per cent live in the city or the county.

In 2010/11 there were 8,081 staff (6,728 full-time equivalents), meaning that the overall size of the council's workforce has reduced by 19 per cent in the last seven years.

In all, 59 per cent of the workforce is female - significantly higher than in the city’s wider population, where the workforce is 45 per cent female, but similar to other cities such as Manchester and Bradford.

Black and minority ethnic (BME) workers account for 37 per cent of those who declared their ethnicity, which is an increase from 34 per cent in 2011/12, and far higher than comparable cities such as Manchester (20 per cent), Coventry (16 per cent) and Bradford (24 per cent).  

Among BME staff, 29 per cent are Asian, compared with 37 per cent of the city’s economically active population.

Sixty-eight per cent of employees declared their religion, with the two largest groups being the 41 per cent identifying as Christian, and 23 per cent with no religion. Hindus made up 20 per cent, Muslims eight per cent, and Sikhs four per cent.

In terms of age, the largest group among council staff continues to be people aged 50 to 54, who account for 18 per cent of staff. 

The city council has an older workforce than the working population of Leicester, but it is working to tackle it by encouraging more young people to work for the council. Last year, people aged 21 to 25 were the largest group applying for council positions (23 per cent), and also accounted for the largest group of people appointed (16 per cent).

In 2016/17, the council had 81 apprenticeships and 37 graduate placements. This far outweighs the national average for local authorities, of 37 apprenticeships and three graduate placements.

Around 7.8 per cent of the city council’s workforce are disabled, which is similar to the city workforce as a whole, and an increase from the 2010/11 figure of 6.5 per cent.

Among the top five per cent of city council high earners, 64 per cent are women, compared to 59 per cent  the city’s workforce overall.

Eighteen per cent of those top earners are from BME backgrounds, compared with 37 per cent of the workforce.

Within the top five per cent of high earners, eight per cent are disabled – this is both higher than the city’s workforce as a whole, and higher than the percentage of Leicester’s disabled people in work.

These figures also show that Leicester has a significantly higher number of top earners who are BME, female or disabled than other similar local authorities.

The report also outlines the next steps to improve upon the figures and make them even more representative of the city’s population in future.

There will also be a continuation of the successful work to support graduate employment and apprenticeship routes to address the issues of an ageing workforce.

Research will also be carried out to better understand any barriers to BME employees being recruited at the most senior levels.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “We are committed to having a workforce which broadly reflects the communities which we serve. This latest monitoring report shows that we continue to compare very favourably with other similar-sized local authorities in achieving this.

“There is still however work to be done to ensure that our workforce accurately represents out diverse city." 

The report will be presented to the city council’s Overview Select Committee on Thursday 2 November.