A paper published by the Film and TV Charity estimates that the film and TV industry could benefit from up to 35,000 more workers if it improves retention of older, experienced members of the workforce.

With a total current workforce of just over 200,000, better retention could make a big contribution to expanding the industry to meet the needs of the current production boom.

The paper, Absent Friends: Scaling the Film and TV Industry’s Retention Problem compares the age distribution of workers in film and TV with that of the whole UK workforce, calculating that retaining up to 35,000 older, experienced workers could mitigate an age imbalance across the industry.

Commenting on the report, Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity said: “With growing demand for talent, retention needs to be understood as a problem the film and TV industry has to address. Our Looking Glass research has already shown that long working hours, highly pressurized environments, and the difficulty of combining family life with work cause poor wellbeing, contribute to a lack of inclusion, and ultimately lead to people voting with their feet and leaving the industry. This new analysis shows that by the time you look at the number of people aged 50+ working in the industry there is a huge shortfall.”

The report comes out against the background of a production boom in the UK, with productions increasingly desperate for greater numbers of skilled staff.

Pumfrey continued: “The traditional approach is to recruit more new young workers, but if the pipeline of talent behind the scenes is already leaky, we are all running to stand still. To retain its older, skilled workforce, the industry needs to find ways of making production conditions more inclusive and supportive of work-life balance and wellbeing. Our Whole Picture Toolkit, which provides support to producers who want to make positive change, can help identify some of the ways to do this.”

The Film and TV Charity also recently launched the 2022 Looking Glass Survey to track mental health and wellbeing in film, TV, and cinema.

The survey is live until July 18th. Access the 2022 Looking Glass Survey here.

Jon Creamer

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