The communications position at Transport for London requires the applicant be of ‘Black, Asian, and minority ethnic’ background
A paid internship posting at UK government transit body Transport for London restricted to non-white applicants has triggered widespread outrage after it was posted to social media on Saturday.
The Stuart Ross Communications Internship, which pays a total of £21,824 ($27,134) for 11 months of “London-based hybrid working” with one or two days per week in the office, requires the applicant to be “of Black, Asian and minority ethnic background, defined as having some African, Afro-Caribbean, Asian or other non-white heritage.”
The racial qualification is listed ahead of the requirement that the applicant be “either an undergraduate or recent graduate on track to receive, or have already achieved, a 2:2 in any degree.”
The program will also take non-graduates with less than a year’s experience in the communications industry, but the racial requirements appear to be less flexible.
The advertisement boasts that Stuart Ross interns have moved on to permanent posts with Transport for London as well as jobs with the Metropolitan Police, Crossrail Ltd, Marks & Spencer, the Arts Council, and the National Health Service, as well as local government. The internship was set up in 2006 to address the purported lack of diversity in the PR industry, according to TfL’s website.
Nigel Farage, the former head of the UK Independence Party, responded to the posting with a tweet urging to “end racist adverts,” while Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox said: “if this advert said ‘blacks need not apply’ […] there would be justifiable outrage from every corner of the insipid media.”
The advertisement was just the latest of many racially-targeted job postings to attract attention in recent weeks. An ad for two £51,000/year ($63,300/year) teaching positions in Glasgow open only to candidates “who identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic” appeared earlier this month on the official government website for the Glasgow City Council, which removed the ad after public outcry.
The council claimed the ad had been made public accidentally, and was meant to only be circulated internally, but defended the idea behind it, arguing the aim was to “provide our young people with positive role models.”
A document explaining the controversial hiring policy points to the 2010 Equality Act, which allows “positive action” favoring minorities such that “it is not unlawful to recruit or promote a candidate who is of equal merit to another candidate, if the employer reasonably thinks: the candidate has a protected characteristic that is underrepresented in the workforce.”
You can share this story on social media: