Skills Forecasting Service launches with snapshot of recruitment challenges


ScreenSkills today publishes the first findings from its new Skills Forecasting Service and calls on all employers to take part in a forthcoming survey designed to paint a comprehensive picture of the UK’s screen industries and help address skills needs.

The first Quarterly ScreenSkills Barometer, a state-of-the-sector snapshot from a specially selected expert panel, underlines the continuing need for skills investment. UK screen industries remain confident of continued growth but 86% report recruitment difficulties.

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

Chairs of ScreenSkills’ industry councils urged colleagues to complete the survey which will be shared with industry in the new year. (Read on for what they said below.)

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. It is delivered in partnership with the Work Foundation.

Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of ScreenSkills, said: “The Barometer findings support anecdotal concerns being raised across the 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.”

First Quarterly ScreenSkills Barometer findings

The first Barometer findings, released today, confirmed a buoyant business environment with most respondents expecting activity to continue to rise.

But 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 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.

Skills shortages affect the sector in a number of ways including increased operating costs, lost business opportunities and missed deadlines. For more details, read the findings here

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 Employer Survey

The Employer Survey, which will open later this month, will alternate with a Workforce Survey to create an Annual ScreenSkills Assessment, corroborating national data sources.

Val Ames, Director of Production, Kindle Entertainment, and Co-chair of the Children’s Skills Council, said: “I will be filling in the survey because I recognise the importance of having the right talent in our industry and how training is key to ensuring that is the case.  As co-chair of the Children’s Skills Council, I also want to have children’s television properly represented in the findings.”

Christine Healy, Head of Production, New Pictures, and Chair, High-end TV Skills Council, said: “The success of high-end television production at the moment is putting pressures on the industry and it is important to understand those pressures in some detail – and not just anecdotally - so we can do something about them and plan for the future. All companies and employers should find the time for the survey when it is released.”

Iain Smith, Chairman and MD, Applecross Productions, and Chair, Film Skills Council, said: "I would encourage all employers to fill in the ScreenSkills survey to provide as much information on skills needs as possible. Our skilled workforce has been one of the driving forces of inward investment and making sure we continue to have the worker's industry needs is critical."

For more information, the Barometer report or further comment, please contact Louise Jury, Director of Communications and Marketing, on 020 7713 9883/07841 496636 or at or ask to speak to a member of the communications team.

The Skills Forecasting Service

The Quarterly ScreenSkills Barometer is one of three strands of the new Skills Forecasting Service. The Employer Survey will alternate annually with a Workforce Survey. Both will be corroborated by national data sources and reviews of other research to form the Annual ScreenSkills Assessment, the second strand of the service.

The third strand is the ScreenSkills Forecasting Analysis which will consult a panel of industry experts (using the Delphi panel method) to analyse likely changes in industry needs and ways of working. Find out more about the SFS here.

About ScreenSkills

ScreenSkills, formerly known as Creative Skillset, is the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen industries - animation, film, games, television including children's TV and high-end drama, VFX and immersive technology. We work across the whole of the country to ensure that UK screen has access now, and in the future, to the skills and talent needed for continued success. 

About the BFI

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

  • Connecting audiences to the widest choice of UK and World cinema
  • Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
  • Championing emerging and world class filmmakers in the UK – investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
  • Promoting UK film and talent to the world 
  • Growing the next generation of filmmakers and audiences

The BFI is a Government arms-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:

  • As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
  • By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
  • By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.

About the Work Foundation

Through its rigorous research programmes targeting organisations, cities, regions and economies, now and for future trends; The Work Foundation is a leading provider of analysis, evaluation, policy advice and know-how in the UK and beyond.

The Work Foundation addresses the fundamental question of what Good Work means: this is a complex and evolving concept. Good Work for all by necessity encapsulates the importance of productivity and skills needs, the consequences of technological innovation, and of good working practices. The impact of local economic development, of potential disrupters to work from wider-economic governmental and societal pressures, as well as the business needs of different types of organisations, can all influence our understanding of what makes work good. Central to the concept of Good Work is how these and other factors impact on the well-being of the individual whether in employment or seeking to enter the workforce.

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