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Trust defends £211k diversity officer role

This news post is about 1 year old

Role requires only three days in office

One of the UK’s biggest charities has come under fire for offering q £211,000 salary for a chief diversity and inclusion officer.

The Wellcome Trust, which has an investment portfolio of around £36 billion, tweeted the role before being inundated with over 300 responses mostly criticising the fact a charity was offering such a high salary.   

The successful candidate will work two days a week in the office, with staff working remotely on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

The trust is also looking for a chief strategy officer, who will earn £177,830 per annum.

The Wellcome Trust said in the job advert for the diversity director role: "While the role is a new one for the Executive Leadership Team, the organisation has been on an EDI Journey for several years. 

"The incoming Chief EDI Officer will partner directly with Wellcome’s CEO, ELT and global Board to foster an inclusive and equitable culture at senior leadership levels.”

It added: "Wellcome has ambitious goals to improve equity, diversity, anti-racism and inclusion which it is determined to embed across its workforce, and in the delivery of its strategy. As such, applications are actively sought from the broadest range of society, including all under-represented groups."

A spokesperson for Wellcome told Third Sector that the salary was benchmarked to equivalent roles.

They said: “We are a global organisation spending £16bn over the next decade on science to solve urgent health challenges. We are funded by the returns from our investment portfolio.  

“This is a critical leadership role which will improve equity, diversity and inclusion across our work. The post-holder will be a member of Wellcome’s executive leadership team. 

“The salary, like all salaries at Wellcome, is benchmarked to the marketplace for equivalent roles.”

Recently the Wellcome Collection, which houses the collection of Henry Wellcome, the pharmaceutical magnate whose legacy funds the charity, closed Medicine Man, one of its galleries, in November last year because bosses felt the collection it housed contained "racist, sexist and ableist theories and language."

Controversial artefacts included a painting called "A Medical Missionary Attending to a Sick African", which portrayed a black man kneeling in front of a white missionary.

A museum statement posted on Twitter read: "We can't change our past. But we can work towards a future where we give voice to the narratives and lived experiences of those who have been silenced, erased and ignored.

"We tried to do this with some of the pieces in Medicine Man using artist interventions. But the display still perpetuates a version of medical history that is based on racist, sexist and ableist theories and language."