Class imbalances across the UK's creative industries, and how the Creative Careers Programme can help
The report on class, participation and job quality in the UK Creative Industries, published by the Policy & Evidence Centre last week paints a disappointing picture of class bias across the sector.
The majority (52%) of creative occupations are filled by those from privileged backgrounds who are 2.5 times more likely to work in a creative occupation than their working-class peers. Those from privileged backgrounds also dominate key roles. In publishing (authors, writers and translators) 59%, and in journalism (newspapers and periodicals) 58% come from privileged backgrounds; in IT as high at 57% and in Film, TV and Photography up to 54% of creative roles are filled by the most privileged.
One prevailing problem is the lack of information, advice and guidance for students from working-class backgrounds about the creative industries and the careers that they can follow within it. 60% of students in a recent Warner Bros. survey had never had careers advice about this sector with only 8% able to name more than 10 job roles, so they either do not aspire to these professions or they see them as being unattainable and ‘not for people like them’. The PEC research sadly reflects this with just 16% of creative roles filled by those from working-class backgrounds.
The Creative Careers Programme (CCP) has made huge strides in reaching out to students across England through employer-led opportunities for over 113,000 state-school students in the 15 months from December 2019 to March 2020. This included 406 students who took part in one- or two-week work experiences, of whom 44% were eligible for free school meals and 52% identified themselves as BAME.
This work is far from finished. There are millions of state-educated students across the UK for whom the CCP provides the only glimpse into the far-reaching career choices that the creative sector holds, ensuring that the next generation of creative talent are more diverse and inclusive than before. As CCP activity resumes post pandemic, we hope that even more employers will join us in reaching out to young talent wherever it may be found.