Diversity in the Television Sector

Author: Greenlight Digital
Published: Sunday 29th November 2020
Summary: In recent years there have been many calls to improve diversity and inclusivity within the TV industry, both in front of and behind the camera.


Currys PC World have assessed how accurately minorities are represented in TV Industry jobs, compared with their presence in the wider UK workforce and national population through its new research. According to Currys PC World in recent years there have been many calls to improve diversity and inclusivity within the TV industry, both in front of and behind the camera. This refers to offering equal opportunities to all demographics and making sure that people of all races, genders, sexualities, disabilities and ages are fairly represented in the TV content made, and in the industry itself.

Opportunities In The TV Industry

2019 research on diversity in the UK TV industry assessed how accurately minorities are represented in TV industry jobs, compared with their presence in the wider UK workforce and national population.

In terms of race, minority ethnic groups make up 12% of the UK workforce. The data suggests they are accurately represented off-screen, accounting for 12% of behind-the-scenes jobs, and are overrepresented on-screen, filling 23% of on-screen roles. This data could be misleading, however, as only 9% of senior TV jobs are filled by BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) individuals, suggesting there may still be some way to go to make sure opportunities really are equal.

Sadly, it's a similar situation for those with disabilities.

Despite making up 18% of the UK workforce, only 5% of off-screen contributions and 8% of on-screen roles are currently filled by somebody who identifies as having a disability. However, this has risen from just 3% of off-screen jobs in 2016 so there are signs of improvement.

Unfortunately, the industry may also be ageist, with those over 50 making up 31% of the UK workforce but only but only 21% of off-screen TV jobs and 25% of on-screen TV roles. It's better news for women, however, with women now represented in line with the overall working population in both on-screen (52%) and off-screen roles (54%).

Finally, looking at sexuality, the outlook is mixed, with non-heterosexual men better represented than non-heterosexual women. While individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and others) account for 2% of the workforce (excluding those who have not disclosed this information), 9% of off-screen jobs and 6% of on-screen are filled by queer men, and 2% of off-screen jobs and 2% of on-screen roles are filled by queer women.

Representation On-Screen

Of course, minorities being cast in TV roles is a different matter to whether they are also fairly depicted on-screen. Historically, the broadcast TV industry has been largely run by white males, restricting their ability to bring variety to the stories being told. But, as the workforce diversifies, it enables TV companies to tell new stories from the perspective of different individuals from a variety of backgrounds.

There's evidence of growing minority representation on-screen in British TV shows. BBC's I May Destroy You has been highly commended for its open, positive representation of women, people from BAME backgrounds and sexuality.

In fact, UK broadcasters have pledged to take action to diversify their content and workforces.

The above graph, courtesy of Currys PC World, reveals the diversity percentage in the television industry and data card representation of various minority groups.
The above graph, courtesy of Currys PC World, reveals the diversity percentage in the television industry and data card representation of various minority groups.

Facts and Statistics

The BBC, Channel 4, Sky and ITV have pledged to take action to diversify their content and workforces


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