UK Music launches 2018 workforce diversity survey

Diversity leads Keith Harris and Ele Hill discuss its importance

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13/07/18: Keith Harris, Chair of the UK Music Diversity Taskforce, and Ele Hill, Head of Diversity at UK Music, wrote about the importance of our workforce diversity survey for Record of the Day:

One of the great successes of the UK music business is the astonishing range of world-leading talent we produce. Nineteen-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason performed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, while the likes of Adele and 70-something rockers The Rolling Stones fill stadiums across the world.

The millions of fans who enjoy the music and lyrics written, produced, engineered and sung by British stars are equally diverse in their age, ethnicity and pretty much everything else. The workforce of our industry needs to reflect this diversity, and a key part of ensuring that is does is a commitment to tracking the improvements and changes we make as an industry. That’s why we at UK Music carry out a workforce diversity survey every year.

We are pushing out our third annual survey this week and we would urge everyone in the music industry to take part so we can produce the most accurate results possible. We will publish the results later this year alongside our 2016 data so people can compare the results. Each year, the data will build, helping us map progress in future years.

We publish the survey every two years, and the first study in 2016 produced some interesting findings. Let’s start with the positive. It showed that among new starters in the music industry, 27.5% are Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority – which suggests the work being done to encourage ethnic diversity at this level is having a positive effect. The introduction of a number of excellent industry internship and apprenticeship schemes has certainly helped to widen the talent pool. It is important that the executives of the future are given the right coaching and mentoring. The survey also found that the proportion of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority staff in senior positions fell among older people which shows there is still more to be done but the schemes going on at entry level are certainly a move in the right direction.

When it comes to gender, it is great to see a number of women leading frontline labels and companies but there is still more to do. Our survey in 2016 suggested women accounted for 54.5% of the workforce between the ages of 25 and 34, which looks positive for younger women in the industry.  But this number dropped to 41.4% in the 35 to 44 age range and fell further to 32.7% for those aged between 45 and 64.  Again there are many different initiatives taking place throughout the industry to look at improving the situation for women and enabling them to progress up the career ladder, and we hope to see the fruits of these endeavours over the years to come.

At UK Music, we work with companies to help them improve representation across all levels of their organisations. One of these schemes involves the creation of development boards – and in 2017 we created our own development board, called the UK Music Futures Group.This group meets four times a year and the idea is that young industry talent learns about board responsibilities, meets board members and feeds into discussions and policy at the highest level. They also get guidance and opportunities not always available to young up-and-coming talent. We also encourage companies to carry out equality and diversity training for all levels of staff, in addition to unconscious bias training and guidance on how to recruit in an inclusive way.

On recruitment in particular, we encourage companies to adopt the so-called Rooney Rule, an idea that originated in America’s NFL, which requires companies (originally football teams) to interview ethnic-minority candidates for roles. The Football Association has recently adopted this, as has the England and Wales Cricket Board among others. A commitment to have at least one female, and at least one Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority candidate interviewed for all senior roles in the industry would be transformative (the BBC have just adopted a similar policy after an internal report into Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority career progression).

The progress on gender pay gap reporting has highlighted some of the work that still needs to be done in all industries.  And there is more to be done in terms of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority pay gap reporting.

Change does not happen overnight, but our goal is to keep the pressure up and create long-term sustainable transformation to make our industry more inclusive.

To measure progress and identify areas that need improvement, it’s vital that we get as many people as possible in the music business to help play a part.

So, please do fill in the survey below and encourage all your colleagues, friends, and everyone you know to complete the survey too.

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