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20 September 2018

Under-Representation of BAME Directors in UK TV Highlighted in New Directors UK Report

Directors UK has today (Thursday 20th September) launched its new report on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) directorial representation in UK television. In Adjusting the Colour Balance, they reveal that despite some negligible improvement over the last few years, BAME directors still face chronic levels of under-representation and under-employment.

Key findings include:

– Between 2013 and 2016, just 2.22% of UK television programmes were made by BAME directors. This is despite 14% of the UK population having a BAME background.

– There was an increase of just 0.11 percentage points in the amount of television directed by BAME directors – going from 2.2% in 2013 to 2.31% in 2016.

– Only 3.6% of directors featured in our dataset come from BAME backgrounds.

– No broadcaster made a significant improvement on diversity in the four-year period. The BBC, ITV and Channel 5 saw marginal increases, whilst Channel 4 saw a slight decline.

– The genres in which there have been workplace interventions saw the biggest improvement; continuing drama rose by 3 percentage points, while single drama rose by 3.6 percentage points.

As a result of their findings, Directors UK is calling on broadcasters to set targets to ensure their workforce mirrors the UK population by 2020, and for them to commit 0.25% of their commissioning spend across all programme making as a levy to fund industry access and career development schemes for underrepresented groups.

They are also calling on the industry to adopt fairer recruitment practices by having broadcasters build certain provisions into their commissioning contracts. This includes provisions for unconscious bias training, regular networking, external job adverts and written references for freelancers.

And they call on Ofcom to make it mandatory for broadcasters to monitor and publish the equality data for all their staff, both freelance and permanent.

Read more here.