Disabled people still “greatly under-represented” in the TV industry, new report shows
There has been slower progress on diversity in the UK’s television industry since last year, with disabled people still “greatly under-represented”, according to Ofcom’s latest research on the sector’s diversity.
Ofcom’s annual Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Television report examines the social and economic background of the television industry as well as reports on companies’ progress in improving the representation of workers including women, disabled people and those from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Fourteen major broadcasters – including the BBC, Channel 4 and Viacom (which owns Channel 5) – provided Ofcom with initial information on the social and economic diversity of their organisations.
This has allowed Ofcom to draw an initial picture of social diversity in UK television, based on responses from 10,188 industry employees – just under one third of the UK-based television workforce.
According to Ofcom’s latest report, disabled people remain under-represented, with no improvement since last year’s report. The proportion of industry employees who define themselves as disabled remains at six percent.
Of the five main broadcasters, Channel 4 (11 percent) and the BBC (10 percent) have the highest representation of disabled people, followed by Viacom (eight percent). ITV (four percent) and Sky (three percent) have the lowest.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “We want a TV industry where differences are celebrated, and the door is open to all. But the evidence shows that the dial towards full inclusivity is not shifting quickly enough, and we cannot allow progress to stall.
“Broadcasters must redouble their efforts to understand their workforces, examine what is working, and strive harder to attract the most talented people into television – whatever their characteristics or backgrounds.”
By 2020, Ofcom is calling on the television industry to materially improve representation of disabled people through targeted recruitment and career development programmes; regularly evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives they have in place to a consistently high standard, to assess what works; and work with Ofcom and other broadcasters to discuss new and creative ways of promoting equal opportunity.