A new report into inclusion and diversity in the UK’s vfx, post and animation sectors shows a BAME workforce roughly in line with the percentage of BAME people in the UK as a whole.
However the report also showed a lower percentage of BAME workers in creative artists jobs and senior management roles. In some sectors, the report found that women were also underrepresented.
UK Screen Alliance in conjunction with Animation UK and Access:VFX published the report built from a survey of more than 1,150 workers.
UK Screen Alliance says the report points to “significant improvement in some respects, but there are areas where action is still required.”
The report documents a significantly higher percentage of ethnic diversity in VFX, post and animation than the overall level of diversity, or lack of it, within the wider film and TV industry.
In VFX, people of colour make up 19% of the workforce. For animation BAME representation is 14% and in post-production it is 18%. All three sectors exceed the 14% UK average percentage for people of colour in the working-age population.
There is a strong bias particularly in VFX, towards the jobs being in London, where the BAME population is 40%, so, says the report “perhaps 18% doesn’t reflect the local community,”
However recruitment in these sectors is not local; it’s global. The UK Screen survey showed that BAME representation was also 18% in the skilled international workforce. Within the British-born workforce, UK Screen found that 48% of recruitment is from the nations and regions. By weighting this recruitment pattern by the percentage of UK BAME workers in the individual regions of the country, UK Screen estimates that the target for proportionate representation of people of colour would be between 16% to 19%, which is exceeded by VFX and only marginally missed by animation and post-production.
UK Screen’s CEO Neil Hatton attributes this in part to more permanent or long-term employment models prevalent in these sectors. “There’s a skills shortage and therefore a strong commercial imperative to discover latent talent from all communities. Inclusion in Post, VFX and Animation where longer and more permanent employment models are common will have a very different dynamic to those parts of our industry that crew-up for short-term projects with freelancers through informal networks. The recruitment focus in VFX, post and animation is firmly on skill and potential. It is quite rightly less about, “who you know” as the gateway to getting a job.“
Whilst the UK Screen report reveals an encouraging overall BAME percentage, it also shows that people of colour are not as well represented in Creative Artist jobs and occupy only 8% of senior management roles. The report also shows that the representation of women in VFX is well below parity at 33%, but in animation it is 51%.
12% of the report’s respondents identified as having at least one physical disability, mental or neurological condition, with 6.5% having Dyslexia.
The report says that industry supported inclusion initiatives like Access:VFX have had an effect with 81% of people perceiving their workplace as highly or mostly inclusive; a view that is not just confined to the white male respondents.
However, the organisers of Access:VFX recognise that there is still much to do on creating a fully inclusive workforce.
Tom Box, MD of BlueZoo and Access:VFX board member observes, “ACCESS:VFX is all about ‘getting stuff done’ but we didn’t have any way to define what ‘done’ means, or measure our progress towards that goal. This report provides the agenda and then guides us towards solving workforce inequality."
Chair of Access:VFX Simon Devereux comments, “The 2019 UK Screen Inclusion Report is a ‘breath of fresh air’ for both for our industry and for the work we’re doing as ACCESS:VFX, in that it reports genuine inclusion data from the front-line of visual effects, animation and post production. The honesty from all the respondents has been overwhelming, and we now have a true working document and dataset that provides an exciting opportunity for recruitment campaigns and better targeting for our talent outreach work. The report has presented some expected inclusion challenges that both confirms and supports the continued work of ACCESS:VFX, along with some positive surprises that we can build on. We look forward to the results of the next survey so we can accurately measure our work and impact on industry diversity.”
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