Creativity is booming but diversity plummets

In the latest UK census, being Jedi was the seventh most popular religion in the UK. The forces of UK diversity are strong. So why, for one of the UK's strongest workforces - captured in the Creative Skillset employment census as growing by 4000 strong - can we not say the same?

In numbers freshly published in January 2014 by the department for culture, media and sport, the creative industries and jobs they support now represent just over 5% of the UK economy. Their output is over8% of exports. And, according to the report, their people represent 1.68 million jobs.

In 2012, while the economy flatlined, the sector outperformed all other sectors in the UK, growing by close to 10%

But against this backdrop of success, industry diversity is actually falling.

While the workforce grew in 2009-2012, the proportion of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees has dropped in this same period from 6.7% to 5.4%.

In some areas, such as film production, BAME representation plummeted, dropping from 10.3% to just 5.3%.

Women remain underrepresented. Despite a climb of 9% from 2009, in 2012 only 35% of the workforce was female. By these figures, the heyday for women's employment was 2006, where it was 38%.

And only 1% of the UK's creative industries workforce is disabled, despite disabled people representing 16% of the working age population.

Speaking at autumn 2013's Diversify conference, Aaquil Ahmed, BBC commissioning editor for religion, had this to say: "I feel ashamed, personally and as an industry we should be ashamed. I don't think we care enough. This industry can make you feel very, very lonely if you're not from a certain background."

Let's go from strength to strength

Chair of the Creative Industries Council, Nicola Mendelsohn, sees 'the right framework' as vital to the creative sector's continuing strength. The growth strategy that the CCI is co-developing with government 'will identify how all involved can ensure the creative industries continue to go from strength to strength.'

A strong 'framework' for growth is one that has everyone involved.

Just as fusion thinking is highlighting that, in the digital economy, an individual's strength as an employee derives from both the depth and the breadth of their knowledge, our strength as a sector, Meddelsohn suggests, depends on the solidity of both our foundations and connections.

And perhaps that's the key message - as a sector, the creative industries must identify how all involved can go from strength to strength. We must make sure the force is strong in everyone and, in building this framework for growth, we must make sure the force is strong in this one.


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