UK TV Industry Experiencing Diverse Talent Drain, Says Five-Year Ofcom Survey

A five-year survey conducted by UK regulatory body Ofcom has concluded that the Brit industry is facing a talent drain and is failing to retain diverse employees.

Female employees were more likely to leave the TV and radio industries than join them across the studied period, it concluded. It added that, while minority representation did improve across the timeframe, it remains poor at senior levels. The report also projected that the proportion of TV employees who are disabled will fall over the next five years.

In TV, 16% of staff are from minority-ethnic backgrounds, up from 13% five years ago. Disabled representation is only at 7%, less than half the UK benchmark of 19%.

The report claimed a lack of applicable data made judging socio-economic diversity difficult, but that overall it appeared to be lacking, with TV employees almost twice as likely to have had parents in professional occupations and to have attended private school in comparison with the UK average.

Recommended points of action included improving data collection, reporting the success or failure of diversity initiatives more transparently, engaging meaningfully with staff networks, and setting retention targets.

“Broadcasters have made progress hiring a wider range of talent. For example, there are twice as many people working in radio from minority-ethnic backgrounds as there were three years ago,” commented Vikki Cook, Ofcom’s Director of Broadcasting Policy.

“But for the first time, more people are leaving the industry than joining, particularly women, while disabled people remain significantly underrepresented. And because companies have focused on entry-level recruitment, there still isn’t enough diverse talent in senior roles. So we’re calling on broadcasters to slow the revolving door and focus on retaining and progressing talented people from all walks of life,” she added.

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