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Workforce Diversity in the British Music Industry

UK Music published results of its first pan-industry workforce diversity survey of the music industry focusing on ethnicity and gender.

UK Music published results of their first pan-industry workforce diversity survey of the music industry focusing on ethnicity and gender.

The survey found BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) representation in the workforce is 15.6%, which is higher than the figure for the UK population as a whole (12.8%).

The study also found that two thirds of music industry workers are based in London where BAME people make up around 30.3% of the workforce.

Among new starters in the music industry, those who have worked for under a year, 27.5% are BAME which suggests the work being done to encourage diversity at this level is having a positive effect.

The proportion of BAME staff in senior positions decreases by age. The survey finds 23.7% of BAME workers aged 25-34 are in senior roles, while between the ages of 35 and 44 the figure is 11.7% and from 45 to 64, this figures sits at 7.6%.

Regarding gender, the overall split of men to women (53.6% to 45.3%) in the music industry shows women are slightly underrepresented in comparison with the UK population (49.3% to 50.7%).

However, between the ages of 25 and 34, women account for 54.5% of the workforce which looks more positive for younger women in the industry. This number drops to 41.4% in the 35 to 44 age range and to 32.7% between 45 and 64.

This inaugural diversity survey took data from almost 3,000 staff from major and independent record labels, music publishers, managers, producers, royalty-collection societies and the live music industry.

UK Music’s workforce diversity survey was launched in July 2016 by the UK Music Diversity Taskforce, chaired by Keith Harris, in order to gain a snapshot of diversity within the workplace across the many music businesses in the UK. The aim is to put down a baseline to find out the current picture and to enable future progress to be tracked.

The Taskforce now aims to work with industry bodies and music employers to ensure that our workforce is as demonstrably diverse as the music we create and export. By repeating this workforce survey on an annual basis, the UK Music Diversity Taskforce will be able to map out progress and endeavour to improve opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds to forge a career within the industry.

UK Music, of which the Musicians’ Union (MU) is a part, is the umbrella body representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry, from songwriters and composers to artists and musicians, studio producers, music managers, music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing companies and the live music sector.

John Shortell, MU Education & Equalities Official says: “Now that we have the data it’s time to unpick the problem and create a solution. There’s some fantastic work on diversity happening in the music industry and a real appetite for change. UK Music’s survey gives us the baseline data, we can only improve on this and use it to make sure opportunity exists for multitude of genders and cultures in the UK”

Keith Harris OBE, Chairman of UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce, says: “It seems that we have reached a moment where the need to improve the diversity of our industry is being matched by a desire by all the interested parties to put initiatives in place that will make a significant difference. I am optimistic that over the coming few years we will see a significant improvement.”

Jo Dipple, UK Music Chief Executive, says: “This survey gives us the first real insight into diversity across all businesses in the music industry. The history of British music is one of merging multiple genres from numerous cultures into unique sounds. Diversity has allowed our industry to sustain a global reputation for the UK. Nurturing and bolstering workforce diversity adds strength to this country’s astonishing musical output. The two go hand in hand.”


Published: 17/01/2017

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