Brexit biggest factor for screen

Brexit named as most important factor affecting screen ahead of availability of skilled labour.

Mrs Wilson © Steffan Hill, Snowed In Productions

Brexit was identified as the most important factor affecting the screen industry in coming months, in our latest state-of-the-sector research.

Leaving the EU was cited as the biggest issue of the moment by 55% of respondents, questioned before the extension of the Brexit deadline. The availability of skilled labour was named by 40%.

Seventy per cent of respondents to the ScreenSkills Quarterly Barometer reported a negative impact on business activity in the screen industries from Brexit. More than half – 56% - of respondents said economic conditions were damaging growth.

An increase in business activity in the last quarter was reported by 39% of respondents, although 11% reported falling levels of business activity. Looking ahead, 42% of respondents expect business activity to increase in the next three months.

Availability of finance is proving challenging, with some respondents, particularly from high-end TV, children’s TV and animation, pointing to falling advertising spend and investment in programming.

Skills shortages persist, with 68% of respondents suggesting it was difficult to recruit, highlighting difficulties filling a wide range of roles, and 88% reported skills gaps among the existing workforce.

The top five most commonly reported skills gaps were managerial in nature including leadership, financial skills and project management. Nearly half – 49% - said employers should invest more in training.

More than half – 53% - of respondents reported that availability of workers was a significant barrier to growth and 44% of the sample highlighted a direct correlation between increased recruitment difficulties and their ability to deliver, for example, through missed deadlines. The most common action taken to overcome recruitment difficulties was to recruit at lower skill levels than intended.

The Barometer is one strand of ScreenSkills Skills Forecasting Service, supported by the BFI awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy.

The barometer is based on a sample size of nearly 60 respondents who are interviewed at three-monthly intervals to reflect a desire for up-to-date labour market intelligence to support decision-making in the short run. The larger sample size of the Annual ScreenSkills Assessment will provide more detailed and granular workforce data.

Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of ScreenSkills, said: “It is clear that the screen industries echo the major concerns elsewhere in industry about the impact of Brexit itself and the economic uncertainty surrounding it.

“There would be challenges in meeting the skills needs of the UK’s screen industries even without Brexit. Brexit makes it even more critical that we boost the skills pipeline and expand the skilled and inclusive workforce in television, film, animation, VFX and games. We will work with industry to make this an opportunity for action on skills and training.”

Dr Caterina Branzanti, Head of Research, thanked all the panel members who contributed to the research. “We hope that you will carry on supporting ScreenSkills research in the future because we think it is important to have robust evidence to underpin anecdotal insight from the sector. It is vital that we keep on monitoring skills needs so that we can act accordingly.”

You can read the full research here.


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