A new report on diversity in the broadcasting industry shows that diversity in senior roles has fallen over the past year.
The Creative Diversity Network (CDN), whose members include the major UK broadcasters, has published the fourth annual report from its Diamond diversity monitoring and reporting system.
The data gathered for the report represents just under three quarters of a million contributions (740,000) – the largest annual sample so far – for the five main Diamond broadcasters (BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5/ViacomCBS and Sky) broadcast between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020.
Diamond now holds data on nearly two million contributions over the past four years, allowing for expanded longitudinal analysis of diversity trends and performance across the industry.
The report found a lack of representation for many diversity groups is still more apparent off-screen than on-screen, especially among disabled people, over-50’s, transgender, and those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic group, this is most evident in drama.
This under-representation is particularly acute in senior level, decision-making roles, where the numbers of contributions by women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals has fallen over the past year and where disabled people are still very under-represented.
There have been some small increases in the representation of disabled people on and off screen. However, as a group, disabled people remain under-represented across the industry.
Deborah Williams, CDN Executive Director said: “Diamond: The Fourth Cut is now able to draw on nearly two million programme contributions. As a result we can provide a more detailed and accurate insight, enabling broadcasters to use the data with in-house teams and suppliers to set targets, create initiatives and measure and review performance against them.”
“The Fourth Cut highlights the scale of inequality still to be addressed, in particular for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and disabled people, if we are to build an industry from top to bottom which properly reflects our society, our viewers and the aspirations of anyone, from any background, who wants to use their talent to create world-beating television content.”
Here are the main findings in the report
- Disabled people made just 5.8% of contributions off-screen, well below the national workforce estimate. (17%)
- Off-screen contributions from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups have fallen from 12.3% last year to 11.8% in 2019-20, below the national workforce estimate (13%)
- Over 50s make 21.5% of contributions compared to 31% of the UK workforce.
- While there has been a year-on-year increase in on-screen representation by most Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, the number of individual contributions from South Asians has decreased for the fourth year in a row
- Disabled people and over-50s are both still significantly under-represented on-screen, making 7.8% and 24.6% of contributions respectively.
- Drama remained the worst performer for off-screen contributions by disabled people (2.7%), a drop from 4.7% in last year’s report. Those identifying as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic made 5.9% of contributions, falling from last year’s figure of 8.6%
- A lack of representation for many diversity groups is still more apparent off-screen than on-screen, especially among disabled people, over-50’s, transgender, and those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic group. This is most evident in drama
- Off-screen contributions by transgender people were too low to be reported on in children’s, comedy, current affairs, drama, entertainment and leisure.
Role types and seniority
- A lack of diversity is evident across many senior off-screen roles, suggesting that significant barriers to career progression are still in place and hindering the development of a more diverse workforce at senior levels of the industry.
- The number of contributions at a senior level made by females dropped to (47.1%, down from 50.4% in 2018-19). Women are particularly poorly represented in the role of Directors (29%) and Writers, where contributions have fallen from 38.1% last year to 33.4% this year.
- Those who identify with a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic group are making only a low proportion of contributions as Series Producers (4.6%), Directors (8.4%) and Producers (9.3%), while contributions as Writers fell from 9.1% in 2018-19 to 6.5% in 2019-20.
- Channel 4 has the highest number of off-screen contributions by women (55.3%), while ITV had the lowest (46.3%)
- Viacom/CBS had the highest percentage of off-screen contributions by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals (14.8%, with the BBC having the lowest (9.9%)
- Channel 4 had the highest number of off-screen contributions by disabled people (6.8%) while Sky was the lowest (3%)
- Sky had the highest off-screen representation of over 50’s (29.8%) compared with the lowest at Channel 4 (14.8%)
- On-screen contributions by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals were highest at the BBC (26.5%), with Channel 4 the lowest (15.9%)
- Disabled on-screen representation was highest at ITV (11.2%) and lowest at Sky (4.7%).
- Significant gender imbalances are very noticeable between production areas. Women predominate in Costume and Wardrobe (78.5%) and Hair and Make-up (98.3%) roles, but Camera, Sound and Lighting roles are overwhelmingly occupied by males. There are so few disabled people working in Costume and Wardrobe, Hair and Make-Up and Set Design that the numbers have had to be redacted.
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