Minority Representation in U.K. TV Workforce Up, But Disabled and Working Class People Remain Underrepresented, Ofcom Report Reveals
2nd November 2022

U.K. media regulator Ofcom’s annual report on diversity of workforces in television and radio for 2021-2022 has been released and the news is only partially good.

The report is based on diversity data, provided voluntarily, from eight of the largest companies who represent around 90% of U.K. broadcasters’ employees – Bauer, BBC, Channel 4, Global, ITV, Paramount (which includes Channel 5), S4C and STV.

The report finds that across the broadcasters’ workforces overall representation of minority ethnic groups increased to 15% of workers. This exceeds representation in the U.K. working age population (13%) but remains below that for major cities in which a number of these broadcasters have a strong presence (London at 37% and Manchester at 28%). Representation of people from minority ethnic backgrounds at senior management level also rose to 9%, although continued improvement is needed, the report noted.

However, disabled people continue to be significantly underrepresented, making up only 9% of all workers and 8% of senior managers, compared with 21% of the U.K. working age population; and people from working class backgrounds are underrepresented, the report also found. Some 13% of employees attended private school, compared to 7% of the U.K. working age population, and 62% of employees had parents in a professional occupation when they were aged 14, against the U.K. benchmark of 33%.

From next year Ofcom is expanding the breadth of data it collects annually from TV and radio broadcasters to help it promote equity, diversity and inclusion across the broadcasting industry. From spring 2023, Ofcom will launch a new data collection toolkit for broadcasters that includes: a new equity, diversity and inclusion self-assessment tool for qualitative data collection and evaluation; an expanded, user-friendly quantitative data collection questionnaire; and updated guidance for broadcasters, including specific recommendations on inclusive working practices.

“With greater numbers of people leaving the TV and radio industry, the progress made in recent years to increase diversity will not be sustainable – unless greater efforts are made to retain, and not simply attract, a diverse range of employees at all levels,” Ofcom said in a statement. “Our approach, therefore, has a firm focus on driving equity and inclusion, and helping broadcasters to embed diversity at all levels of their organization.”

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