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UK television’s representation of diversity

Sep 26, 2017 | Inclusive Boards Articles

The recent Ofcom report published looked into ‘Diversity and equal opportunities in television’. Part of this report highlighted that broadcasters need to widen the range of talent working on and off screen. This included the difficulties of minority groups getting into television.

The study at large focuses in on five main British broadcasters: the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky and Viacom.

Essentially, this creates a cultural disconnect between the millions of audiences and people who make programmes. Furthermore, this was highlighted in a previous 2015 Ofcom research summary which concluded that audiences are dissatisfied by the lack of efforts in showing programmes that portray their lives and communities authentically.

Below explains the scale of the under-representation of minority groups in the television industry:

  • Women account for 48% of employees across the five main broadcasters, versus 51% of the wider UK population.
  • All of the main five broadcasters have more men in senior roles than women.
  • Ethnic minority employees make up 12% of employees across the five main broadcasters, lower than the UK population average of 14%.
  • Just 3% of employees across the five main broadcasters self-report as disabled, compared to 18% of the UK population.

Upon the release of the report Ofcom’s Chief Executive, Sharon White, said that “We’re announcing a range of measures to help close the gap between the people making programmes, and the many millions who watch them.”

This leads to knowledge of actions and steps being taken by broadcasters to improve diversity within the industry. In another report published highlighted the steps being taken by broadcaster to promote equal opportunities. Part of the key steps being taken included the charge for all broadcaster to regularly measure and monitor the make-up of their workforce consistently in correlation with the Equality Act. Secondly, as suggested by Ofcom – broadcasters to set clear diversity targets, this most importantly prompts diversity transformation being led from the top.

As a result of this the five main broadcasters are working towards accelerating diversity within the industry. There are many expectations on the BBC, UK’s largest broadcaster to pave the way in leading by example. However, it is known in recent events that Channel 4 have in fact pioneered with various diverse programmes being shown.

 

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