The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport last month reported a creative industries’ “jobsboom”, with employment growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce as a whole.
Yet diversity and inclusion in the creative sector still hasn’t been solved. As noted in Jon Snow’s Mactaggart lecture last week, research shows that in journalism, 80% of editors were educated at private or grammar schools, compared with 88% of the British public now at comprehensives.
To use another example, the Work Foundation recently produced a skills audit of the UK film and screen industries commissioned by the BFI. The report highlighted that shockingly, only 3% of the sector’s production workforce is from BAME backgrounds. Given the creative industries’ London weighting and the city’s ethnic makeup, that figure should be closer to 18%.
The creative workforce is the future
As traditional jobs become increasingly obsolete, the future of employment is in creativity. In March, the charity Teach First released research revealing that poor social mobility in the UK will result in a shortage of 3 million highly skilled workers by 2022, in jobs that require greater levels of innovative and lateral thinking. To meet these changes in our economy we need to be making this jobs market accessible to everyone, not just the privileged few.
From an equality standpoint, that these opportunities should not be accessible to all is problematic. If we fail to make the creative industries seem open to all now, we’re excluding a part of our society from affluence in the future.
Diversity benefits businesses. In a recent study, Harvard Business Review found companies with a diverse workforce to be 70% more likely to capture new business. Fundamentally, creative businesses are aware of the business and moral imperative to improve the representation amongst their workforce. Diversity has become it’s own cottage industry in the creative sector, with a growing number of organisation campaigning for better representation. So why are things slow to change?