London biz too white, middle-class

Sector hires from a narrow band

LONDON — London’s media industries are too white and too middle class, according to a report published Wednesday.

Research gathered by London Met University shows that while more than a third of London’s workforce is from an ethnic minority background, just 8% of the city’s workers in the film and TV industries are from the Afro-Caribbean, African or Asian communities.

The probe, released by the Trades Union Congress, revealed that recruitment and training protocol in London’s film and TV companies makes it difficult for workers from poorer backgrounds and ethnic minorities to break into the biz.

The findings, based on interviews with final year and grad students from media courses, revealed that over a third of students quizzed felt under qualified to get a job in the media industry and that the audiovisual biz tends to employ workers through informal contacts or word of mouth recruitment.

In addition there was a general expectation that new entrants work for free.

The report suggests that these traditional modes of employment and training meant that London’s media industries selected employees from a limited cultural circle: largely characterized as those from white, high-income backgrounds.

“More needs to be done by training providers and employers to create effective pathways into the industry for all London communities,” commented Dinah Caine, chief executive of Skillset, the training body for the audiovisual industries.

“Training must be accessible, relevant and keep pace with industry needs. London is a world city and its diversity is a genuine asset in the global economy. Employers have got to get better at taking on youngsters from ethnic minority backgrounds.”

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