Skills Forecasting Service

Gathering UK-wide data on screen industry skills, including current and emerging skills gaps, for employers, policy-makers and education and training providers. The Skills Forecasting Service (SFS) is being developed by a team of researchers and partner organisations to collect, analyse and share data. The research draws upon recognised national data sources with bespoke industry research to meet industry needs.

What is the Skills Forecasting Service?

In the autumn of 2018, we launched the Skills Forecasting Service to investigate current and future skills challenges and needs in the screen industries. The service is an integral part of ScreenSkills’ strategy and a key delivery objective of the BFI Future Film Skills Action Plan (PDF)

The research we undertake aims to tackle significant gaps in the existing evidence base, as identified by the Skills Audit of the UK Film and Screen Industries (PDF) which was carried out by the Work Foundation for the British Film Institute (BFI) in 2017 and which has been reinforced by our further consultation with business, industry associations, screen agencies, policymakers and training providers.

The SFS provides detailed, up-to-date and forward-looking labour market intelligence, including:

  • headline market insight
  • characteristics of the labour market
  • an overview of the skills pipeline, including education and training provisions
  • a profile of the workforce, including diversity and inclusion statistics
  • current and emerging skills gaps and shortages
  • drivers of change and their impact on current and future skills needs
  • the future of work in the industry

The SFS combines recognised national data sources with bespoke industry research to provide the insight and level of detail needed by employers and education and training providers. The research findings will be regularly communicated to employers and policymakers to inform workforce policy and planning, and to education and training providers, so they can tailor what they do based on robust evidence.

The SFS findings are freely available in the research section of our website.              

Research plans and workstreams

Every year we publish the research plan for the year ahead. For further information about our research plans and work streams, please get in touch with our research team via

Delivery 2019/20

Along with the Quarterly ScreenSkills Barometer, the SFS will deliver a new project in 2019-20 entitled “A Long-Term Analysis of Employment, Occupations and Skills Investment Requirement in the Screen Industries”. Capitalising on last year’s findings, this research consists of two interrelated workstreams.

The first workstream will create long-term growth scenarios for the screen industries, factoring in technological progress, demographic change, relevant policies and capital investments (e.g. new studios). This will also include an analysis of growth patterns of UK screen in the various regions and nations. The research will seek to create an interactive model to assess the demand for additional workers needed in the screen industries, based on different growth scenarios.

The second workstream will investigate whether current investment and interventions in skills and training are sufficient to meet the future demands found in our growth scenarios. This research will quantify both the current investment in skills development the screen industries (by government, further and higher education, employers and individual investments) and future spend needed to maintain and ideally build on the sector’s current world-beating status (specifically to prevent what might otherwise be growing skills shortages).

Delivery 2018/19

The first year of research has been carried out in partnership with the Work Foundation, the advocacy and research organisation which is part of Lancaster University.

This research was made up of three workstreams:

  1. The Quarterly ScreenSkills Barometer: provides regular, short-term snapshots on business activity, skills gaps and shortages and training practices across, and is underpinned by a short online survey completed by a rolling panel of around 50 industry experts.
  2. The Annual ScreenSkills Assessment: provides an in-depth analysis of the screen industries’ labour market and workforce, diversity and inclusion statistics, skills gaps and shortages experienced by employers in the sector, and training provisions. The ASA is underpinned by a specially commissioned employer survey, which was completed by 418 employers across the industry.
  3. The ScreenSkills Foresighting Analysis: provides a forward-looking analysis of drivers of change and the future of work in the sector. The study is based on a rapid evidence assessment and insights gained from a series of in-depth Delphi Panel interviews with industry experts.

How industry can help

Central to the success of the SFS is the input from industry stakeholders. We will be seeking industry involvement, as panel members, in completing questionnaires and cascading findings across the industry. We appreciate the risk of survey fatigue but would urge cooperation to make this a service that delivers.

We are approaching industry stakeholders throughout the year to ask for support in delivering the SFS in a number of ways. If asked, please consider helping, for instance by:

  1. Taking part in our Barometer Survey and help us understand what the screen industries labour market looks like at the moment and what the short-term outlook for employment in the sector is
  2. Getting in touch via to provide us with information, opinion, anecdotal evidence and on-the-ground experience in relation to skills shortages, diversity and inclusion and future of work