The impact of Covid-19 on the screen industries (January 2021)

Most screen employers have been negatively affected by Covid-19 but some saw an upturn in business.

The impact of Covid-19 on the screen industries (January 2021)

ScreenSkills Assessment 2021 asked respondents in what way their workload or business activity had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 300 employers and around 800 members of the screen workforce were asked about the pandemic in the past 12 months in January 2021, so their answers don't reflect any changes that might have occurred since then.

  • The vast majority of sampled employers and workforce were impacted negatively by the first Covid-19 lockdown (82% for employers; 73% for the workforce), with physical production affected most.
  • Some saw an upturn in business during the same period, with some animation and games employers saying that increased demand for content caused by Covid-19 lockdown may have helped to accelerate existing growth plans.
  • As a result of the pandemic, 16% of the workforce sample transitioned to a different sector outside of the screen industries, while around 11% of the surveyed workforce moved to another sector within screen.
  • 75% of sampled employers said new Covid-19 safety measures had an impact on how work is carried out, followed by 74% who pointed to remote working as a key driver of change.
  • Companies that already relied on tech-enabled workflow, ie animation, games, post-production and VFX, reported least change in work processes.
  • Increased remote working and the wearing of face coverings led to more formality in communication, with some respondents missing the spontaneous communication that would normally occur in the office, studio or on shoots.
  • Nearly 40% of the employer sample felt that different working practices and the financial strain caused by Covid-19 made it more difficult to offer the crucial on-the-job training and support new entrants may need. This perception is likely to change and more optimism is expected as social distancing restrictions are eased.
  • The majority of respondents felt the pandemic had no impact on the recruitment of a greater diversity of talent, but concern was expressed about the negative impact of the pandemic on some people's ability to enter or progress in screen.

ScreenSkills Assessment 2021

For further details see page 14 of the full research that gives a snapshot of skills issues affecting the UK screen industries from January 2020 to January 2021.