Today the UK Screen Alliance in conjunction with Animation UK and Access VFX has published a major new report into inclusion and diversity in the UK’s VFX, animation and post-production sectors.
The report fills in a data gap which was highlighted by a BFI commissioned evidence review in 2018 and by the recent ScreenSkills Assessment for 2018-19 which called for more granular research at sub-sectoral industry level into inclusion and diversity. Collectively industry trade body, UK Screen Alliance in conjunction with Animation UK and Access: VFX surveyed of more than 1,150 workers. The results reveal a portrait of diversity that will challenge many of the preconceptions about these three sectors and their progress in achieving an inclusive workplace. There has been significant improvement in some respects, but there are areas where action is still required.
The report documents a significantly higher percentage of ethnic diversity in VFX, post and animation than the overall level of diversity, or lack of it, within the wider film and TV industry. In VFX, people of colour make up 19% of the workforce. For animation BAME representation is 14% and in post-production it is 18%. All three sectors exceed the 14% UK average percentage for people of colour in the working-age population.
There is a strong bias particularly in VFX, towards the jobs being in London, where the BAME population is 40%, so perhaps 19% doesn’t reflect the local community, however recruitment in these sectors is not local; it’s global. The UK Screen survey showed that BAME representation was also 19% in the skilled international workforce. Within the British-born workforce, UK Screen found that 48% of recruitment is from the nations and regions. By weighting this recruitment pattern by the percentage of UK BAME workers in the individual regions of the country, UK Screen estimates that the target for proportionate representation of people of colour would be between 16% to 19%, which is exceeded by VFX and only marginally missed by animation and post-production.
UK Screen’s CEO Neil Hatton attributes this in part to more permanent or long-term employment models prevalent in these sectors. “There’s a skills shortage and therefore a strong commercial imperative to discover latent talent from all communities. Inclusion in Post, VFX and Animation where longer and more permanent employment models are common will have a very different dynamic to those parts of our industry that crew-up for short-term projects with freelancers through informal networks. The recruitment focus in VFX, post and animation is firmly on skill and potential. It is quite rightly not about, “who you know” as the gateway to getting a job.“
Whilst the UK Screen Alliance report reveals an encouraging overall BAME percentage, it also shows that people of colour are not as well represented in Creative Artist jobs and occupy only 8% of senior management roles. The report also shows that the representation of women in VFX is below parity at 33%, but in animation it is 51%.
12% of the report’s respondents identified as having at least one physical disability, mental or neurological condition, with 6.5% having Dyslexia.
Industry supported inclusion initiatives like Access: VFX have clearly had an effect with 81% of people perceiving their workplace as highly or mostly inclusive; a view that is not just confined to the white male respondents. However, the organisers of Access:VFX recognise that there is still much to do on creating a fully inclusive workforce.
Tom Box, MD of BlueZoo and Access:VFX board member observes: “ACCESS:VFX is all about ‘getting stuff done’ but we didn't have any way to define what ‘done’ means, or measure our progress towards that goal. This report provides the agenda and then guides us towards solving workforce inequality."
Chair of access:VFX Simon Devereux comments: “The 2019 UK Screen Inclusion Report is a ‘breath of fresh air’ for both for our industry and for the work we’re doing as ACCESS:VFX, in that it reports genuine inclusion data from the front-line of visual effects, animation and post production. The honesty from all the respondents has been overwhelming, and we now have a true working document and dataset that provides an exciting opportunity for recruitment campaigns and better targeting for our talent outreach work. The report has presented some expected inclusion challenges that both confirms and supports the continued work of ACCESS:VFX, along with some positive surprises that we can build on. We look forward to the results of the next survey so we can accurately measure our work and impact on industry diversity.”
Ed Vaizey MP and chair of the all party parliamentary group for Creative Diversity said, “These are encouraging statistics from the UK Screen Alliance, but much remains to be done to improve diversity across the creative industries. The APPG for Creative Diversity welcomes the positive work being done by the likes of Access:VFX in providing opportunity for minority groups and to inspire a new wave of diverse talent to enter this sector.”
Jennifer Smith, head of inclusion, BFI, said: “As the industry strives to be truly representative, data is crucial in providing an accurate picture and pinpointing areas we need to focus on. We welcome UK ScreenAlliance’s report and thank the respondents for providing their data - it not only shows some encouraging stats in terms of the dial moving in the right direction, but also gives a solid baseline from which to build from. Collecting data alone won’t create a more representative workforce, but it is vital barometer alongside other interventions and guidance offered in the BFI Diversity Standards to interrogate hiring and promotion practices to create lasting change.”
Carrie Wootton, director of Rise: Women in Broadcast comments, “We are really pleased to see the launch of the UK Screen Alliance 'Inclusion and Diversity in UK' report. At Rise we work with industry’s manufacturers, broadcasters and service companies which compliments nicely what Access VFX is doing and so this level of detail in the report allows us to fully understand where the challenges still remain but also where progress has been made. This is a really significant milestone and one that gives a true baseline for the industry to work from moving forwards. We look forward to supporting UK Screen Alliance in this work over the coming months.”
The full report can be downloaded here.view more - Hires, Wins & Business