ScreenSkills (formerly Creative Skillset) has published the first findings from its new Skills Forecasting Service revealing worries in the industry about recruiting for production and technical jobs.

The first Quarterly ScreenSkills Barometer, a state-of-the-sector snapshot from a specially selected panel, found that UK screen industries remain confident of continued growth but 86% report recruitment difficulties.

The survey found that limited availability of skilled workers in key areas is perceived as one of the main factors affecting further growth, cited by nearly half the panel. More than a third (36%) named Brexit as affecting business activity and 22% changes to exchange rates.

In film and TV, the survey found the most difficult roles to recruit for are in production (including production accountants, line producers, production and location managers). Several technical and supervisory roles were also reported as hard to fill in VFX (supervisors, FX artists, creature FX and animators) and in games (programmers and project managers).

Less than a third of screen professionals believe the industry is investing sufficiently in skills although 86% report recruitment difficulties.

The Barometer consists of 50 industry representatives from film, high-end TV, unscripted TV, children’s TV, games, animation and VFX – chosen for their understanding of the sector and to be able to inform the quarterly ‘temperature check’. They sit on a panel for up to five consecutive quarters.

More Barometer panellists are required for future rounds.  ScreenSkills is particularly seeking input from professionals based outside London and the South East, including those working in children’s television, games and VFX.

The Barometer will take the temperature of the sector at regular intervals and will be added to by the Employer Survey where the plan is to get input from hundreds of UK employers in the screen industries (film, high-end TV, unscripted TV, children’s TV, animation, VFX and games).

The Skills Forecasting Service, supported by National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of its Future Film Skills action plan, is intended to provide solid evidence to inform future skills investment and help anticipate new skills needs such as those created by virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and other technological innovations.

Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of ScreenSkills, said: “The Barometer findings support anecdotal concerns being raised across industry about skills shortages. In time, we expect these snapshots will also act as an early warning system to identify new skills needs as they emerge.
“We will also encourage the whole industry to take part in the Employer Survey, so we have comprehensive evidence on skills. This will help employers plan and help us to target investment where it is most needed to support growth.
“We are already working closely with our colleagues in the screen industries on skills and training. But if we are going to address skills gaps effectively and diversify the talent pool, we all need a better understanding of the state of the workforce.”

Staff Reporter

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