We want Birmingham 2022 to be a Games for everyone, and in particular to ensure that the diverse citizens, businesses and communities of the Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region can contribute to and benefit from this exciting and unique event. One of our five Equality, Diversity and Inclusion priorities is: Developing a workforce reflective of the West Midlands.

The number of people employed directly by the OC is expanding rapidly. Our workforce of 750, as of March 2022, will double over the next few months as we fill the 800 remaining roles. These include roles across Games operations and services, with opportunities in technology and management positions.

From the outset we have stated that we want the diversity of our workforce to reflect that of the region. Initially we benchmarked ourselves against the data from the 2011 census. However, we recognised this didn’t accurately represent that changing demographic of the region, so we have chosen where possible to use the latest ONS working age population data for the West Midlands region to measure our progress. This data is not available for some protected characteristics so we have used what we believe to be the best available benchmark, either from the 2011 Census or Annual Population Survey.

Some strands of diversity have a good level of representation among OC employees. For example, 11% of staff identify as LBGT+ as of March 2022 (compared to 5% of the West Midlands population) and there is a higher proportion of female employees than males in our workforce at 58% versus 42%.

In respect of ethnicity, 20% of the OC workforce is from ethnically diverse communities (defined as anyone who is non-white as defined by the categories used by the ONS). This is in line with the working age population of the West Midlands region.

However, we know that the working age ethnically diverse population of the Metropolitan area, as defined by the ONS, is higher than this at 32.4%. Therefore, we have set ourselves the challenge of closing the gap, even though our workforce is drawn from the wider region and beyond.

We recognise there is underrepresentation for some other diversity strands such and religion and disabled people.  We respect that some people do not wish to disclose their religion and our EmbRace Network continue to educate and raise the awareness of different religions.  We are committed to the employment and career development of disabled people and as a Disability Confident Employer we will continue to support disabled people in the organising committee.

Building an inclusive culture

We have sought to create a culture that is welcoming and supportive for all staff. We have implemented a number of initiatives to help us achieve this. From 2020 onwards we adopted the FREDIE model (Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Engagement) to support our EDI Priorities. In order for us to benchmark the effectiveness of our EDI activity, we achieved Leaders in Diversity status and in 2021 were ranked number 14 on the National Centre of Diversity’s Leaders in Diversity list. 

We signed the Race at Work Charter in 2021, which comprises seven calls to action to ensure that employees from ethnically diverse communities have the necessary support networks in place. These include a Board level commitment to zero tolerance of harassment and discrimination, appointing an executive sponsor for race, capturing and publishing ethnicity data, ensuring that all leaders and managers understand their personal responsibility for EDI, and taking action to support the career progression of ethnically diverse employees. 

We’ve improved our Induction programme by introducing an increased focus on EDI for new starters, so there is a clear understanding of the culture and behaviours expected at the OC from the outset.  Our staff networks - Women at Work Network, EmbRace Network and the Inclusive Network - continue to engage both internally and externally as well as support personal and career development for the member colleagues.

We recognise the importance of ongoing education and development around EDI, especially at senior levels of the organisation. Over the past six months, the OC Board took part in a Race Equality Workshop delivered by Nathan Dennis of Legacy Consultants and our Executive Management Team (EMT) and Directors have participated in an EDI Workshop delivered by Cleo Morris of Mission Diverse both local organisations. Prior to this, members of EMT received 1:1 training from the National Centre for Diversity. 

“Working with Birmingham 2022 in relation to their drive to a more equal, diverse, and inclusive Commonwealth Games, highlighted a clear drive for growth and development from the organisation and its senior leadership. Our sessions led to enhanced personal and interpersonal understanding, in addition to working towards greater positive action for Birmingham 2022 and beyond. It’s immensely impressive that an organisation of such stature took the initiative to deepen their knowledge around creating an inclusive, diverse, and representative Games.” Cleo Morris, Director of Mission Diverse CIC

What we have done to increase diversity in our workforce

We have implemented a number of initiatives to reach out to local ethnically diverse communities to encourage and support job applications.  These have included our dedicated Community Engagement team visiting local areas and publicising vacancies, focusing on disadvantaged wards and community hubs in ethnically diverse communities including mosques, temples, community centres; attending job fairs at educational institutions with a high proportion of ethnically diverse students; and providing targeted mentoring and application support for Bangladeshi and Pakistani community groups in partnership with organisations including DWP and Prospects/Shaw Trust. We have also publicised employment opportunities in targeted media including The Voice, Unity FM and Newstyle.

We have also established an Organising Committee apprenticeship programme, which has 27 opportunities for local people to work on Birmingham 2022 gaining valuable experience and skills. The apprentices, all but one of whom are from the West Midlands and 10 of whom are from an ethnically diverse background, are working in a wide range of areas including finance, ticketing, event services and security. 

While we have had some success with the proportion of ethnically diverse employees growing by 2% between July 2021 and March 2022, we recognise that we can and should go further to ensure our workforce more closely reflects the local population.

With the aim of increasing the number of applications from job seekers and people with disabilities, we have run mentoring sessions with the support of DWP. In addition, as part of a review of the accessibility of our application process, we have created an Access to Work fact sheet here providing information on the support available to all employees and how it can be easily accessed, as well as providing accessibility FAQs here and assistance/GiS forms in .DOC format to facilitate document readers.

What we are doing next

We launched a major recruitment campaign in February 2022 to fill 20,000 jobs across the OC and our key suppliers, targeted at people living in the West Midlands. This is being supported by on-the-ground community engagement, as well as ongoing media and marketing activity that includes paid advertising, in multiple languages, across a number of regional and community media channels to ensure we reach out to as wide and diverse as audience as possible. Examples of community media channels we have supported through paid advertising include The Voice, The Phoenix, Desi Blitz, Big City Radio, Unity FM, Raaj FM, Switch Radio, Newstyle Radio, Gulshan Radio, BEYONTV UK and The Asian Today.

The Community Engagement team has delivered a series of hub drop-in sessions at community spaces across the West Midlands to engage with communities and inform them of opportunities associated with the Games with particular focus on Jobs and skills opportunities available and application support. Find out more about our Community Engagement.

Our Community Engagement team has delivered two Faith Forums for faith leaders in the West Midlands to engage them in supporting the faith provision for athletes during the Games. 

We are also reviewing our internal recruitment processes to ensure these are as fair and effective as possible, including refresher unconscious bias training for hiring managers. 

There has been a focus on supporting young people, disadvantaged groups, the unemployed and disabled individuals – especially those from ethnically diverse communities. This won’t only benefit the Games, but will also help create a qualified, experienced talent pool for the region.   

We supported The Governance Forum’s ‘Young Leaders Programme Get on the Board’ by opening up this opportunity for ethnically diverse staff at the OC.  The programme is designed to broaden the experience of individuals by learning about governance, so they have the skills to contribute to the leadership of an organisation by becoming board members.

Data Sources

(a) Census 2011 - WM Region only

(b) Annual Population Survey, Age 16-64, WM Met County and WM Region

(c) Annual Population Survey, Sexual Orientation 2019 (WM Region only)

(d) ONS Population Projection, Base 2019