ScreenSkills to co-fund social mobility research

Cursed © 2020 Netflix Inc / Robert Viglasky

ScreenSkills is co-funding new research into class and social background in the UK’s screen industries.

The investigation with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) will aim to give more detailed insight into social mobility across film, television, animation, VFX and games on the back of a new PEC report that shows little advance for people from working-class backgrounds in the creative industries as a whole in the last five years.

Seetha Kumar, CEO of ScreenSkills, said: Even before the Covid pandemic, there were growing concerns about social mobility in the screen industries where those from privileged backgrounds appear more likely to succeed than those who are not. However, we do not know enough about class and social background in film and television and how they influence career progression which was why we wanted to be a partner in the new more detailed investigation into the issue.

“As we rebuild the industry after the coronavirus lockdown, we will use the light shed by this new research on the important issue of background – and how that intersects with other issues such as ethnicity, disability and gender - to identify what more we can do to unblock barriers and unlock the potential of a greater diversity of talent.”

The new research, Getting in and getting on: class, participation and job quality in the UK creative industries, just published by the PEC highlights class imbalances across the UK’s creative industries. Just 16% of people in creative jobs are from working class backgrounds and those from privileged backgrounds more likely to land a job, progress in their chosen field and shape what goes on stage, page and screen.

Despite increasing action to promote inclusion in the sector by government and industry, the likelihood of someone from a working class background finding creative work remains largely unchanged over the past five years - 17.6% of people in creative roles were of working class background in 2014 compared with 16.2% today.

The further investigation into the screen industries will be the first of a number of ‘deep-dives’ into specific sub-sectors and occupations in the creative economy. The research will be UK-wide and will also work with wider industry stakeholders including Pact, British Film Institute, UK Screen Alliance, Access VFX, Animation UK, and Screen Industries Growth Network-Yorkshire.

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