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TV broadcasters must maintain momentum on diversity

GROWTH: Diversity in the workplace

UK TELEVISION broadcasters are collecting more data on the make-up of their workforces than ever before, Ofcom has found, marking a step forward in understanding and addressing under-representation across the TV industry.

Last year, Ofcom required broadcasters to undertake more regular and detailed monitoring of employees’ characteristics, to identify under-represented groups and help tackle a lack of diversity in UK television.

Today’s report, Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Television 2018, examines progress over the last 12 months across the UK-based TV industry. It focuses on the five main broadcasters – the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky and Viacom (which owns Channel 5).

Taking the UK-based television industry as a whole, TV broadcasters now collect data on the ethnicity of 88% of staff, up from 83% last year. They have measured the age of 86% of employees, and the sexual orientation of 59% – up from 71% and 49% respectively a year ago. The religion or belief of 56% of staff is also captured in today’s report, up from 41% a year ago.

But information on the disability status of employees has failed to improve, with 31% of staff (11,323) unaccounted for – similar to last year. As a result, the picture of how well disabled people are represented in UK television remains unclear.

Ofcom expects broadcasters to keep improving data, particularly inareas such as disability and sexual orientation, and the monitoring of freelance staff, where it remains poor.

Vikki Cook, Ofcom Director of Standards and Audience Protection, said: “We’re encouraged that major broadcasters understand the need to attract people who may not feel they can make a career in TV. Senior people across TV are leading work to widen the breadth of talent, on and off screen. This is in broadcasters’ interests, because it helps them make programmes that reflect the whole UK.

“But our report shows how far there is to go. We expect broadcasters to build on the momentum of the last year, and to keep improving their monitoring and staff diversity in the coming months.”

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