Goals 2 and 3: By 2025, Nesta’s staff profile will, at minimum, be representative of the UK on the following characteristics: ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and gender. By 2025, the proportion of staff from lower socioeconomic backgrounds will be at least 17.3 per cent.

Our starting points and targets for change

Ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and gender are protected characteristics for which there is evidence of a number of systemic gaps at Nesta. As in all EDI strategies, we have prioritised which characteristics to focus on through analysis of our current workforce profile (benchmarked against local and national populations) coupled with modelling of ambitious-yet-feasible targets within our people strategy. We may consider focusing on other, additional dimensions of representation in the future.

We have set the following targets for these characteristics, based on a comparison of our current staff profile with both the UK and London averages:

  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic
    Nesta 2020 – 18%
    Nesta 2025 target – 25%
    Benchmarks UK – avg: 14%; London: 40%
  • Disability
    Nesta 2020 – 14%
    Nesta 2025 target – 20%
    Benchmarks UK – avg: 22%; London: 15%
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or asexual
    Nesta 2020 – 18%
    Nesta 2025 target – Do not fall below 5%
    Benchmarks UK – UK avg: 2.6%; London: 2.7%
  • Women
    Nesta 2020 – 70%
    Nesta 2025 target – Do not fall below 50%
    Benchmarks UK – UK avg: 51%

From: Office for National Statistics (2011, 2016, 2017); Family Resources Survey (2017)

While not a protected characteristic, the representation of lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds in Nesta’s staff is key for a diverse, inclusive workplace, and for the work we do on our missions. Our aim is that by 2025, at least 17.3 per cent of our staff will have grown up in low-income households, as measured by whether they report having received free school meals (equivalent to the current UK average).

Addressing representation will require considerable changes to our organisation, from how we present ourselves to the outside world, to our recruitment practices and our efforts to create an environment in which everyone feels welcome.

How we will address these issues

Outreach programmes have been shown to increase the diversity of those showing interest in a role or opportunity. For all new roles, Nesta will conduct targeted outreach to minoritised and disadvantaged groups. We will review online content and communicate in a way that seeks to make everyone feel they could belong at Nesta, highlight our approach to flexible working, and provide access to government-funded specialist support for people with a disability or health condition.

Quotas are effective in increasing the number of minority staff in the short term (though long- term effects are dependent on pay, promotion and workplace culture). By keeping applications open until we reach a threshold of applicants from minoritised and disadvantaged groups, we will ensure that applicant pools are more diverse than our staff profile targets, and that we effectively reduce bias in the application process.

To reduce the negative impact that discretion has on hiring outcomes for candidates from minoritised and disadvantaged groups, we will review all job specifications with an EDI lens, train hiring managers and ensure interview panels are diverse.

All of our teams at Nesta could benefit substantially from the talent and ideas of apprentices. We will create opportunities for people without higher education to learn new skills and build their professional networks at Nesta.

Metrics of our progress

  • Representation of staff and applicant pools (self-reported)
  • Staff retention