The idea of a fair and diverse industry is central to current discussions about cultural and creative jobs. However, as this report will demonstrate, the cultural and creative industries are marked by significant inequalities; in particular, we look at the social class background of the workforce, and how this intersects with other issues, including attitudes and values, experiences of working for free, social networks, and cultural tastes. Inequality in the arts regularly forms the basis for public discussions about culture in Britain. For example, we have recently seen scandals over gender pay gaps at the BBC; political inquiries about working class representation in the theatre industry; and a wealth of blogging and social media commentary focused on representations of race and ethnicity in the arts. What is missing is an understanding of the scale of social inequalities, along with a clearer understanding of how these inequalities operate.
In terms of social class, social mobility has been a longstanding problem for the sector, meaning that it is currently dominated by those from affluent social origins. There was also no ‘golden age’ for social mobility within the cultural sector. At the same time, our analysis of the Panic! dataset shows those respondents who are the best paid are most likely to think the sector rewards talent and hard work, and are least likely to see exclusions of class, ethnicity and gender in the workforce. The Panic! data also shows respondents’ limited social networks: how the creatives responding to the Panic! Survey tended to know other creatives, to the exclusion of many other occupations. The workforce inequalities are reinforced by the prevalence of unpaid labour. Panic! respondents overwhelmingly said they had worked for free. Alongside the inequalities in the workforce, this report paints a picture of a cultural sector which is exclusive in more subtle ways. The analysis shows the taste patterns of cultural workers are substantially different from those of the rest of the population; this difference is replicated in workers’ values and attitudes, which are the most liberal and left wing of any set of occupations.