The Creative Industries Federation, in partnership with the MOBO organisation, today launches Creative Diversity – The state of diversity in the UK’s creative industries and what we can do about it.

Drawing on benchmark studies from across the full spectrum of creative disciplines, as well as a range of insights and analysis from industry heavyweights, “Creative Diversity” reaches behind the headline figures to present a detailed and compelling “state of the creative nation” narrative.

Kanya King, CEO MOBO, said:

“Everyone, no matter who they are, should have the chance to reach the highest ranks in the creative industries as well as every other part of life. By unravelling the headlines of today’s study, it is clear that we need our creative industries to reflect the general population, not only for social justice, but to enable it to flourish.

The study is a new analysis that reveals Britain’s world-beating creative industries are not as diverse as they appear at first sight.

It argues that while diversity has been long seen as a matter of social justice, there is a hard-headed business case for tackling the failure to capitalise on the full range of talent available and ensure that the creative industries remain the fastest-growing part of the UK economy.

And so it provides a compendium of best practice by forward-looking organisations and businesses that have already acted to improve the diversity of their staff. It also includes case studies to show how everyone can act now to make a difference.

The review, by Federation Policy and Research Manager Eliza Easton, shows that apparent improvements in diversity are not as good as they look.

Government statistics report a 12.5 percent increase in the number of jobs in the creative industries held by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people between 2013 and 2014. They account for 11 per cent of jobs in the creative, which is a similar level to that in the general working population of the UK.

But when the Federation re-balanced employment statistics according to where the jobs are held, the results are not so impressive. With 32 per cent of all creative jobs in London where 40 per cent of the workforce is BAME, a much higher 17.8 percent of the creative industries workforce should be BAME.

The lack of diversity across gender, disability, sexuality, age and socioeconomic background also requires action as, in some cases, advances are being reversed.

Yet evidence from McKinsey and Consulting shows that the most racially and ethnically diverse companies and organisations with more women are likely to have better financial results.

Key points in the study

The percentage of women in the creative industries fell from 37.1 percent in 2013 to 36.7 percent last year, even though women hold 47.2 percent of jobs in the wider UK workforce.

  • Women make up only 19.7 percent of the workforce in IT, software, and computer services, however, this same sector has one of the fastest growing rates of BAME employment at 54.4 percent compared with 18.9 percent growth for the white workforce (between 2011-2014)
  • Failing to diversify means wasted business opportunities; the BAME population will make up nearly a third of the UK’s population by 2050 and its disposable income increased ten-fold in the decade from 2001 (to £300bn from £32bn).
  • Women influence 80 percent of buying decisions and by 2025 are expected to own 60 percent of all personal wealth
  • Only 14 percent of workers in the £1.7 billion video games industry are women yet they play more than half the games
  • Each industry within the creative sector (advertising & marketing, crafts, architecture, design: product, graphic & fashion, film, TV, video, radio & photography, IT, software & computer services, publishing, museums, galleries & libraries, music, performing & visual arts) demonstrates potential for diverse growth in all
  • Evidence from parts of the sector shows that those who attended private school earn nearly£6,000 more than the average
  • Unconscious (and conscious) biases may currently be affecting employment – from ‘implicit stereotypes’, to ‘group favouritism’ & ‘homogeneity bias’

Practical actionable advice for small businesses, large businesses and freelancers

  • Have a hiring strategy and advertise on sites likely to be seen by a wide range of applicants
  • Make diversity part of the company’s identity. Make having a diverse workforce part of your strategy and vision
  • Beware of recruiting people just because they look like you, and encourage your team to recognise unconscious bias
  • Do internal audits and provide diversity training
  • Make flexible working available

John Kampfner, CEO Creative Industries Federation, said:

“This study not only exposes the existing social inequalities in the creative industries’ workforces but shows that there are hard-headed economic reasons for tackling them. A more diverse workforce is good for organisations and key to accelerating growth.

“The most forward-looking organisations have already acted to ensure their staff more accurately reflect the population. By drawing together case studies and evidence of best practice, we show how everyone can act now to make a difference. It is not only a matter of social justice but crucial to ensuring the fastest-growing sector of the UK economy continues to grow and thrive.”

Creative Diversity is being launched on the eve of the MOBO Season, an exciting initiative featuring events and activities dedicated to raising exceptional talent to the forefront of popular British culture. MOBO Season will be launching under the banner of “Rise with Us”, and it has been put together by MOBO who after 20 years of promoting diversity within music, are now working with partners across the creative industry of film, theatre, fashion and art. The Season will run throughout October in the lead up to the awards on November 4th.