The screen sector is vitally important to the economic, social and cultural life of the UK. According to research which covers the UK’s film, television, animation and video games industries, the sector generated over £6bn for the economy (2013), including £1.5bn in overseas investment (Olsberg SPI with Nordicity 2015).
The latest data published by the British Film Institute shows that the UK film industry alone had a turnover of over £10 billion in 2015. The screen sector is also central to the cultural and leisure activities of the UK’s diverse population. For example, film is valued as an important part of British culture and plays a role in constructing national and individual identity (Northern Alliance and Ipsos MediaCT 2011).
We live in a diverse society, however, the screen sector’s on and off screen workforce does not reflect the diversity of the UK’s population as a whole. There are longstanding and complex barriers to attaining equality of opportunity and participation. Across the UK screen sector and academia a number of workforce diversity studies have been undertaken in recent years. These studies vary in terms of the aspects of diversity they focus on, their scale and aims and objectives. However, what is missing from the research currently is an understanding of the cross-cutting themes and multiple effects of lack of diversity and inclusivity in the screen sector, and how these impact individuals with protected characteristics working in the industry.
In order to address this knowledge gap, the external advisory group to the BFI’s National Lottery-funded Research and Statistics Fund commissioned this evidence review. The aim of the review is to pull together findings from these diversity studies and establish the research (and evidence) base on workforce diversity in the UK screen sector. The review systematically evaluates the research on workforce diversity in the United Kingdom’s film, television, animation, video games and visual effects (VFX) industries published between 2012 and 2016. It gives the most complete picture to-date of what is known about the screen sector workforce.