BAFTA warns of talent challenge

Survey results show media need to better mentor young people

LONDON — BAFTA is calling on Blighty’s film, television and games industries to address challenges facing young people in accessing adequate advice, resources, work experience, education and skills training in the U.K. following the results of a survey.

In its inaugural Career Pathways Survey, published today, BAFTA concluded that insufficient career advice is putting the next generation of talent in the U.K.’s audiovisual industries at risk while also proving a barrier to increased diversity. The research suggests young people are being discouraged from pursuing a career in film, television or games, with women and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds most at risk of being lost to these industries due to misinformed guidance.

The survey questioned 2,077 people ages 16-24 and almost 200 BAFTA members about their career decisionmaking processes and influences. The film, television and games industries employ over 80,000 people in the U.K. Although there is significant competition for jobs in some areas, the report suggests that many potential recruits dismiss these sectors for reasons not based on their talent or aptitude.

One in six respondents aspiring to work in film, television or games said they had been discouraged from pursuing a career in the audiovisual industries. The survey found many teachers and career advisers believe the film and TV industries are too difficult to find work in unless young people can survive on low income. This reason was given by 33% of young people who had once considered a career in these industries but had been discouraged.

The findings also suggested a gender gap, with young women far less likely to consider a career in games than men. Only 9% of female respondents considered working in the games industry vs. 38% of young men. Women were also more likely to be discouraged from a career in film, television or games, with 28% feeling that they wouldn’t fit in and 21% dissuaded by parents, family or friends, compared with 21% and 14% of males in the same situation.

“With increasing pressures on young people making career choices, it is worrying to see that potentially talented future members of our industries are unable to find the right advice to steer them onto this path,” said Anne Morrison, chair of BAFTA’s Learning and Events committee. “We call on our industries, teachers and careers advisors to equip themselves with the right information about the enormous range of fulfilling careers available – from set design to game design, to visual effects or producing – in order to give the best advice possible to the next generation of talent.”

BAFTA offers a year-round program of over 250 events and initiatives which enable BAFTA members and other leading industry talent to share their skills and experience with current and aspiring film, TV and games industry professionals.

Findings will be discussed at a Nov. 15 summit hosted by BAFTA where industry and career experts will aim to identify practical solutions to the issue.