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?

A new Skills Forecasting Service is being launched by ScreenSkills in 2018 to investigate current and future skills gaps 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 work is being carried out in partnership with the Work Foundation, the advocacy and research organisation which is part of Lancaster University.

The research 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 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 will provide detailed, up-to-date and forward-looking labour market intelligence, including:

  • headline market insight
  • an overview of the labour market
  • the skills pipeline
  • diversity and inclusion
  • skills shortages
  • what is driving change and what technological developments mean for skills needs

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.

The 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 methodology

The service will combine recognised national data sources with bespoke industry research, to provide the detail needed by employers and education and training providers.

The SFS is underpinned by six key research questions:

  1. What does the screen industries labour market look like at the moment? 
  2. What are the characteristics and profile of the workforce?
  3. What are the characteristics and profile of both learners and education providers in the screen industries?
  4. What does diversity and inclusion look like amongst the workforce and those engaged in screen-related further and higher education? 
  5. What are the current key skill shortages and gaps facing the sector?
  6. How will the screen industries workforce change over the next five to 10 years?

The research is made up of three research strands:

  1. A quarterly screen skills barometer: a regular snapshot of the economic position of the screen industries, covering business confidence, incoming investment, jobs and vacancies, existing and emerging skills issues. The barometer will be delivered by an online rolling panel, formed of around 50 members, broadly representative of the sectors within the screen industries. Panel membership will change approximately every year.
  2. An in-depth annual screen skills assessment: covering jobs and skills, supply, skills mismatch, all within the context of change and key future sector and occupational shifts.
    This will be delivered by a mixed methodology, including review and appropriate use of national data sources.
  3. Skills forecasting: developing a forward-looking analysis of how industry employment needs are changing and the future skills needs of the industry as it responds to market disruption and technological developments.

Skills forecasting will be delivered by a Delphi panel, a research method particularly appropriate for forecasting future scenarios. The panel consists of around 20 individuals known to have insight into developments within the screen industries. Panel members are asked to complete several rounds of questionnaires. Anonymous responses are aggregated and then shared with the group after each round. The aim of the Delphi method is to reach a consensus over a particular subject.

How industry can help

We are approaching industry to ask for support in delivering the Skills Forecasting Service in a number of ways. If asked, please consider helping:

  1. Take part in the quarterly barometer panel 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. Get in touch at: 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