Blears Calls For More Local Recruitment For BBC MediaCity

Former cabinet minister, Hazel Blears, has called on the BBC to rethink their recruitment process for their new MediaCity in Salford, to make sure that more local people secure jobs there. 

Ms Blears said she was “shocked” to hear that of 680 new jobs created at the flagship media centre, just 26 of them went to people from the surrounding area. The majority of the 1,846 roles within the centre are being filled by existing BBC employees who have moved to Salford from elsewhere in the country.

Ms Blears, the MP for Salford and Eccles, said the BBC needed make its recruitment process more locally focused. 

“I’m really disappointed they haven’t been able to do better,” she said. “There is much, much more the BBC can do to try and recruit people from the local area. The BBC has a responsibility as a major local employer to maximise the opportunities for local people.”

The head of human resources for BBC North, Ken Lee, defended their recruitment for the centre, stating that they based their hiring “on skills and experience, not postcode”.

He said that 246 people from the Greater Manchester region had been successful – including the 26 from Salford – and explained that local recruitment would increase in the long term. 

“We have moved to an area without an established media skills base,” Mr Lee said. “Our future commitment – which is a long-term commitment – is to grow the skills base in this area.”  

Geoff Newman from recruitment agency Recruitment Genius was equally surprised by the comments from Ms Blears.

“There is obviously a vacuum of relevant talent in Manchester and hence inward migration is inevitable. At the same time the BBC are making redundancies and are legally obliged to offer vacancies to these staff first. Hence it is only natural the BBC has adopted this practice.”

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