Skills shortages in the UK screen industries 2021

ScreenSkills reveals the hiatus and changed working practices due to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 had an impact on hiring.

© ScreenSkills/ Erroll Jones

ScreenSkills Assessment 2021 reveals a snapshot of the skills shortages in the UK screen industries. Fieldwork was conducted in Jan 2021 (during the Covid-19 pandemic) with nearly 300 employers being interviewed about skills gaps and shortages, alongside around 800 members of the screen workforce. The research revealed that twice as many employers had not recruited over the previous 12-month period compared with the 2019 ScreenSkills Assessment.

Employers, or those hiring, were asked to name the roles for which they had particular recruitment difficulties.

See page 25 of the report (download link at the bottom of the page) for the full list. The following roles were referenced more than once:


  • 2D animator
  • Production manager
  • 2D designer
  • Background designer
  • Storyboard artist

Children's TV

  • Production manager
  • First assistant director


  • Production coordinator
  • Covid safety roles
  • Production manager
  • Hair and make-up artist
  • Producer
  • Editor
  • Line producer
  • Location assistant
  • Runner
  • Costume designer
  • Storyboard artist
  • Edit assistant
  • Accounts assistant
  • Assistant location manager
  • Location manager
  • Production assistant
  • First and second assistant camera
  • Camera operator

High-end TV

  • Production coordinator
  • Costume designer

Other scripted TV

  • First assistant director
  • Covid safety roles
  • Director
  • Hair and make-up artist
  • Location manager
  • Unit manager

Unscripted TV

  • Editor
  • Covid safety roles
  • Production coordinator
  • Production manager
  • Development assistant producer
  • Series producer
  • Shooting producer director

Within post-production, games and visual effects, these are the roles that employers, or those hiring, reported particular difficulties in crewing up. They were referenced only once:


  • 3D programmer
  • Animator
  • Artist
  • Back-end programmer
  • Game designer
  • Network programmer
  • Technical artist directors
  • Technical artist
  • UI designer


  • Colourist
  • Dubbing mixer
  • High-end tech ops (MCR pipeline)
  • Post-production producer

Visual effects

  • Facial modeller
  • Real-time engine coder (for virtual production)
  • VFX producer

Many of the skills that are in demand are transferable from non-screen sectors.

ScreenSkills Assessment 2021

For further details see page 25 of the full research that gives a snapshot of skills issues affecting the UK screen industries from January 2020 to January 2021.