creative skillset census 2012 figures released moviescope

Creative Skillset census 2012 figures released – movieScope

Employment in the creative media industries has grown by more than 4000 in the last four years (from 188,150 in 2009 to 192,200) representing a 2% increase, according to the Census. The 2% growth in the creative media industries is well above the 0.99% increase in employment across the wider UK economy. The workforce in England has reduced whereas levels of employment have increased in the other UK nations, particularly in Wales (up from 5% to 10%) and Scotland (up from 4% to 7%). Northern Ireland saw a 1% increase to 5%.

While there has been a lot of talk and discussion lately about the lack of women working in the industry, the figures show that numbers have actually increased since the last census in 2009 from 27% (53,750) to 36% (69,590). However, the 2009 figures saw a drop from 38% of the workforce in the 2006 census. One of the largest areas of decline highlighted in the 2009 Census was within TV, where figures indicated that 5000 women had left the industry. The latest Census shows that the number of women working in TV has since risen to 22,650, an increase of 2300, bringing the representation of women in this industry back up to 45%. While this can definitely be seen as a positive move, the fact that it is still below the 2006 figures is not a cause for great celebration yet. With the exclusion of freelancers, one wonders how representative these figures are of the actual situation.

The proportion of freelancers working in the industry has remained constant at 24%. Some industries have higher levels of freelancing than others such as independent radio production which is 67%. Freelancing is prevalent in those areas most closely involved in the production process and increases have been seen in games development, independent radio production and commercials production.

Creative Skillset Executive Director, Kate O’Connor, said, “Following the 2009 Census Creative Skillset commissioned the Women in the Creative Industries report and, together with our partners, put a number of initiatives in place to address the decline, which have clearly had a positive impact. We welcome the increase in women across the industries but we must not be complacent.”

Dinah Caine CBE, CEO of Creative Skillset, said: “We welcome the growth of women shown by this key piece of research. But we recognise more still needs to be done. The proportion of women in the Creative Industries, at 36%, is still not representative of the UK’s working population (49% in 2012).”

One of the most disappointing figures was related to the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) representation across the industries, which has continued to fall since the last Census. Almost 2000 BAME people have left the industries since 2009 reducing the representation from 6.7% in 2009 to just 5.4% of the total workforce. This compares to 9% representation across the UK’s wider working population. In London BAME representation is 8.9% but the capital is, in fact, the least representative region when compared to the city’s overall working population (28.8% BAME).

Although the census doesn’t give reasons for this drop, a BECTU representative at the press briefing of the results said that this was inherently due to what could only be described as institutional racism and croneyism within the industry. An example was given of a UK Asian producer who was offered work as a runner at a production company immediately after getting an award for a major hit indie film.

Interestingly, there were no figures that showed what percentage of women in the industry were from BAME. Also missing were figures relating to age. With people being expected to work longer, and agism being rife in the industry, especially for women, it would have added another strata worth investigating in bringing more parity to the creative sector.

In light of Moviescope’s interview with Scott Ross regarding the state of the VFX industry in the UK, it was interesting to see that employment in the VFX and Games sectors had dropped by 23% and 21% respectively, with the main reason given for the decline in VFX was due to better tax incentives being offered by Canada and South East Asia.