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A new Ofcom report notes that, despite progress at lower levels, diversity at the top of broadcast organisations is still low.
There continues to be a serious lack of diversity in senior roles in the broadcast industry despite progress at lower levels, according to a report by Ofcom which finds more women are leaving the industry than joining.
While the percentage of minority ethnic groups in radio and tv has risen from 6% and 13% respectively in 2017/8 to 10% and 16%, the situation is less positive at senior levels.
It says: “Broadcasters appear to have focused on entry-level recruitment at the expense of retaining and progressing their diverse talent. Disabled people, for example, make up only 6% of senior managers. The situation is more promising for minority ethnic colleagues in TV, who make up nearly a fifth of all those promoted – although it is not clear whether this is to senior management positions.”
Disabled people in particularly are underrepresented – at just 7% of the workforce, less than half the UK benchmark of 19% in 2020/21. Moreover there is a lack of data about socio-economic diversity.
Ofcom’s Diversity and Equal Opportunities in UK Broadcasting report covers five years and finds that broadcasters are struggling to retain talent in the aftermath of the pandemic, particularly women.
The report, which notes that there is more information and data available on diversity than in the past, calls on broadcasters collectively to place much greater focus on retaining and progressing senior, diverse talent through improving their data collection – including on promotions; reporting the success or failure of diversity initiatives more transparently; engaging meaningfully with their staff networks; and considering setting retention targets.