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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Topic – Clarifying the scope of challenges of delivering fresh and credible insights in the Diversity and Inclusion in the Creative Sector.

Methodology, introduction, literature review, methods, results,- discussion, conclusion.


Secondary data

Literature review

What is diversity and Inclusion

What and why?

The 9 protected characteristics

Where are the gaps in the industry.

The steps that can be taken to address the gaps.

Limitations of the research

Create the map of the grid – work across the grid and industry and then secondary research and then establish gaps

Second – do further work in exploring the gaps

Third – test and clarify the research


The cost involved of the scope of the project

The research that already exists in the area

Why and if its required


The purpose of this report is to explore the challenges in delivering credible information and insights in diversity and inclusion in the creative sector in the United Kingdom. The thesis aims to identify the primary challenges of gathering and scoping data in diversity and inclusion in the creative sectors, emphasizing the protected characteristics in examining creative industries and determining new ways of understanding, conceiving and studying diversity and inclusion from a critical perspective. This provides a general framework for the growing body of work that locates diversity research and practices within vast creative conglomerates operating at a global level. The report marks out the usual boundaries of such an endeavor by synthesizing the research in diversity and inclusion and the ways in which concepts and methods of research have been adapted to the study of industry diversity practices and addresses the main gaps and trajectories of such research. It would provide an account of the challenges and opportunities for each subsector and present supporting recommendation. This would improve the overall understanding of positons and issues related to diversity and equality within the creative sector.


The major objective of this study is to clarify the scope, the challenges and the gaps in D&I research in the creative industries. This has been done by using the 9 protected characteristics to measure the various aspects of diversity in the sector.  Field study was carried out by in-depth interaction and interviews with experts in the field, due to a lack of consensus in many focus areas of this research, it has been helpful to elicit the opinions of some of the more prominent members in the industry. A study of this nature does have its own limitations and the respondents may not be representative of the population and the opinions may express their own bias, the report has a list of targeted individuals who were selected to represent and reflect the industry practitioners, the individuals were asked a series of open-ended questions on matters relating to diversity and inclusion practices.

Some industry and secondary data was collected by conducting thorough research on published information by the organisations. To present the data collected a “Grid framework” is used to consolidate the available research and help establish the gaps present, after another level of extraction of the data the gaps in the research are further explored and then this is then tested and clarified by supporting evidence. The frame work outlined in the report emphasizes interactions among cultural and economic forces that influence the sectors practices. The 5 sectors covered in the report are,

• Broadcasting

• Advertising

• Music

• Technology

• Film and TV

Due to a lack of consensus in many focus areas of this research, it has been helpful to elicit the opinions of some of the more prominent members in the industry. A study of this nature does have its own limitations and the respondents may not be representative of the population and the opinions may express their own bias, the report has a list of targeted individuals who were selected to represent and reflect the industry practitioners, the individuals were asked a series of open-ended questions on matters relating to diversity and inclusion practices.


The Department of Culture Media and Sports(DCMS) has defined creative industries as those “activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have the potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property” - this includes 13 sectors : advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film, interactive leisure software, music, publishing, the performing arts, software and radio. However due to requirements of the project, the focus sectors and sub sectors of this research will be limited to – Broadcasting, Advertising, Music, Technology and Film. The United Nations defines the UK's creative industry as being at the crossroads between the arts, business and technology. The creative sector makes a significant contribution to the British Economy and is the fastest growing industry in the UK, it employs 1.5 million people in the UK and are worth more than £36 billion a year, it has also cemented its positon as a power house and is rapidly growing with employment in the sector four times that of the nation's average. Considering it's a major part of UK's economy, the following analysis is an attempt to gather evidence of diversity and inclusion in the creative sectors in view of the protected characteristics or The Equality Act.

The following are the protected characteristics,

• Age – The act aims to cover and protect employees of all ages but is the only protected characteristic that permits employers to justify direct discrimination, as if the employer can justify to practice different treatment because of age in order to meet a legitimate aim then it will be viewed as if no discrimination will have taken place.

• Disability – The act accommodates a protection arising from disability and covers any unfavourable unfair discrimination arising out of disability. This act also covers indirect discrimination and includes a provision which makes it unlawful, with a few limited exceptions to the case, to enquire about health before a job offer.

• Gender Reassignment – The act protects individuals who intend to start have completed a process to change their gender and are absent from work for this reason.

• Marriage and Civil partnership – The act protects employees who are married or in a civil partnership arrangement, single people are not protected under this act.

• Pregnancy and maternity – The act protects women against discrimination when they are pregnant or have given birth.

• Race – The act protects people against discrimination on the grounds of race, which comprises of colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.

• Religion or Belief – The act protects individuals against discrimination based on grounds of their religion or their belief, including a lack of any belief.

• Sex – The act protects both men and women against discrimination on the grounds of their sex including pay etc.

• Sexual Orientation – The act continues to protect bisexual, gay, heterosexual and lesbian people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and preference.

The Equality act also extends to some other protections but due to the scope of this project, the research will focus on diversity and inclusion by relevance of the above protected characteristics. A work space that embraces individuals with the above protected characteristics is considered a diverse and inclusive environment. The under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic(BAME) individuals, women, deaf and disabled people and low-income groups in the culture of a work place is not solely a social justice issue, it also adversely impacts businesses and reduces the breadth and depth of creative perspectives. A lack of diversity and under-representation damages international reputation and trust in the UK as a diverse and tolerant society. The business case is clear a wider, deeper pool of talent to solve problems, spark innovation, and, in many cases, mirror a company's own customer base. Diversity of creative talent and participation is essential to the expressive richness and the economic and social prosperity of the system. The media industry plays a pivotal role in organizing the images through which individuals make sense of the world. (Murdock & Golding,2005, p.60)

Broadcasting Industry

The broadcasting industry in the UK is far from representative of the world around, it matters that there is diversity in this sector as it an influential story teller whose diversity of voice, vision and perspective should represent that of the wider society. Diversity of representation in the broadcasting industry is not only about making a business case but only the most diverse range of talent can lead to more effective decision makers, better productivity and ultimately create better content and higher ratings also broadcasting has a unique role of responsibility of shaping and reflecting the society's values.

Studies of D&I within the broadcasting industry provide valuable information on certain aspects, while some aspects lack credible data. In the UK broadcasting industry, the key players are BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, which account to over 72% of the market share, £14 billion in revenues and employing 34,223 individuals. (, 2017)

In the research conducted within the industry the scope of diversity measurement and study has mainly been limited to Gender, Age, Ethnicity and Disability. The BBC's diversity strategy report states that it aims to cover individuals under the all the nine protected characteristics, the measurements and studies conducted do not reflect the aim as BBC's main diversity data collection partner Cultural Diversity Network(CDN) conducted an analysis which only cover Age, Gender, Disability, Sexual Orientation and Ethnicity. Also historically the BBC have only collected information on the age, gender, disability and ethnicity and have recently introduced new categories of measurement on religion and belief and on sexual orientation. The future initiatives and targets set by the BBC have a strong focus on Ethnicity (Employment of BAME individuals at all levels with a focus on the senior positions), disability, age and Gender. The BBC has ambitious plans to increase representation of disabled individuals on and off-screen, a press release by the BBC stated in 2014, while the on-screen representation of diversity done by the BBC has noticed a slight improvement in numbers the off-screen representation has received a lot of criticism. The BBC has taken strides in D&I by the monitoring socio-economic diversity recently and is the first organization in the broadcasting industry to undertake this research.

While Channel 4 acknowledges the Equality Act and the nine protected characteristics, the objectives set for diversity are narrow in scope and limited to Ethnicity, Gender and Sexual Orientation. It has received recent acclaim from prominent figures in the industry for ethnicity inclusion of BAME individuals.

ITV has a D&I initiative that focuses on “inclusive programing”, which seems narrower in scope and is limited to representation of ethnic minorities(BAME) individuals and has targets in place for employment of BAME individuals. SKY has a strong focus on the representation of BAME individuals, on and off screen –production and writing. They have an ambitious target of 20% of all SKY employees will be from BAME backgrounds while the UK population for BAME individuals currently is around 14%, the reason given is that they feel it rebalances the years of under representation, while this is a great initiative and measure undertaken by SKY, it seems very restricted in review.

After a briefing with a senior executive, who spent over 28 years working at the BBC and laying out the scope of the research project that Hyden aims to accomplish, while she applauded the initiative by Hyden, she is of the impression that the industry has a narrow perspective in terms of D&I and would only be focused on collecting data and research on Ethnicity, Sex, Disability and to a certain extent Sexual Orientation. She also strongly believed that the usage of secondary published data would hold stronger credibility as the research published by established institutions would hold value over primary research done by Hyden, as Hyden would require a few years to gain credibility.

Another interaction with the head of diversity and inclusion at the BBC had similar outcomes, she did remark that the big players in the industry had published data which is available on the internet and primary data collection on the nine protected characteristics would not be required for the research. She also seemed to agree that the industry has not progressed enough to create space for all the nine protected characteristics and for now the focus is on BAME, Sex and Disability representation.

While the broadcasting industry has a long way to progress in terms of D&I, it can be noted that the industry is aware of the lack of representation of the minorities and there is a wave of change in the industry. While the BBC has only a minor initiative in terms of all the protected characteristics, it has the broadest scope of D&I research and effort in the broadcasting industry, the other key players in the industry have narrower approaches in terms of D&I.

Advertising Industry

The advertising industry is a major source of revenue for the United Kingdom and contributes to over £2 billion each year, employing nearly 270000 people nationwide, London is a particularly important cluster with over two-thirds on international advertising basing their headquarters here, the UK also is the fifth largest market for advertising in the world. The advertising industry is in poor shape from a diversity perspective. Similar to the broadcasting industry the advertising industry seems to be focused on a range of D&I, there are studies on Gender, Ethnicity, Disability, Age and Sexual Orientation, however there is disproportionate data available for on screen advertising representation and off-screen advertising representation. In the UK, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising(IPA) is a professional institute for agencies in the UK's advertising, media and marketing communications industry. It covers all aspects of the agency business and currently holds about 300 agency members, it acts like a spokesperson for the industry, hands out awards for industry best practices and also sets industry code of conduct. The IPA is a major influencing factor in the advertising space in the UK and the big agencies with an income of over £20 million are all members of IPA, and hence can set targets. The latest survey conducted by the IPA covers gender and BAME. While the results were shocking, especially in the lack of representation of women in the senior roles, the salary gap was however not evident. While the industry is focused mainly on Ethnicity and Sex, the IPA which acts as a regulatory body in the industry does monitor on and off screen diversity.

On Screen Diversity

During the monitoring of on screen diversity, there seems to be a broad perspective in terms of D&I as there is monitoring on the portrayal of Gender, Ethnicity, Disability, Sexual Orientation and


In terms of gender many aspects are considered and addressed such as “gender stereotyping” – roles of specific gender, characteristics, mocking people for not conforming to stereotype, sexualisation, objectification and body Image. In the recent years' significant attention has been given to body image portrayal and studies reveal that while it has not reached that utopian vison there has been signs of improvement in the last year and a shift in depiction of diversity in advertising. There is also an increasing awareness for the promotion of women in leadership positions in the advertising industry as women make up over 50% of junior agency roles but the number drops significantly in higher positions.

In an interaction with the head of marketing of an MNC, she believes that the industry is well aware of the disproportionate representation of women in senior roles and while steps are being taken it has been slow progress. She also did agree to the general consensus that the industry does attract women at junior levels, mid-management levels and are losing them in senior roles, she pointed out that, it is a common assumption that this is due to pregnancy and maternity but that isn't the representative of the truth as women do return after their maternity leave but find it difficult to progress after taking a break. She also stated that she was unaware of the gaps present in the industry until she got to the leadership role where she was mostly the only woman or the only BAME individual present in the room. The most common assumption across the industry for the lack of representation of women in senior roles is due to pregnancy and maternity, however there is close to no evidence and research that supports this assumption.

Recently in the British Advertising festival held by the IPA that celebrated 100 years of British advertising, special attention was given to the representation of disability on screen in advertisements. A special mention of funds invested in disability representation on-screen, with the aim of changing public attitudes towards disability.

There has also been a broader representation of sexual identities, channel 4 has taken remarkable strides in this area.

The next characteristic that has been given attention to is Age, in the UK the 20-29 age group has decreased by 11 million while the 50-64 age group will increase by 16.5 in the recent years, the advertising industry holds a reputation for displaying a negative attitude towards older people, despite it being proven that older people are innovative in thought and idea generation, however there has been a recent change in attitude towards the subject of age, there is some evidence that policy makers are making progress in establishing age discrimination as a priority for social change. There are various organisation that ensures “Responsible advertising”, the Advertising Standards Authority covers a wide range of evaluation focused on monitoring on-screen representation.

Off-Screen Diversity

It can be noted that most of the research conducted in the advertising space is heavily focused on on-screen representation and not so much research on off-screen representation. This also seems to be the trend across the industry, most research conducted by firms may boast good numbers for D&I, however this is often termed as “Fake-Diversity” in the industry, as the figures don't show the true trends of progression in career or level of seniority in the industry and mostly account for “on-screen” and don't monitor those who commission and make the shows. An example – A show may have a gay Asian lead, but the producer, the commissioner, the script writer would show no diversity.

The case for more off-screen representation is simple, its only when there is more diversity behind the scenes will there be more diversity of voice and opinion on-screen, and would accurately represent the multicultural nature of the country.

Following the trends, the experts have theorised that the next shift in diversity in advertising will be a move towards advertisements that truly represent the behaviours and passions of people and the groups they feature and not just the generalised stereotypes of the past and to a certain extent the present


Studies of diversity and inclusion within the technology industry provide valuable information on certain aspects while some aspects lack credible data.  The industry within the UK is very fragmented with revenues of £170 billion and employing 1.64 million people (Tech Nation 2017 Report)

The scope of the research conducted within the industry has mainly been limited to gender and race.  Gender discussions often include a discussion of pregnancy, but this is anecdotal.  Those interested in studying diversity and inclusion must rely on self-reported figures from companies themselves, anonymous surveys with narrow population sets, or personal narratives whose credibility is difficult to establish.  Researchers are likely to encounter self-selection biases where companies who do report figures are better actors within the industry. 

There is also the issue that many tech companies employ very few people relative to traditional industry.  This may mean that many companies do not have the resources to analyze their own data, in fact even if eager to analyze their data they may have a population size where this analysis would be helpful in identifying bias.   With a smaller staff they may struggle to complete requests for information that would further the analysis of the industry as a whole carried out by academics, governments, and other interested bodies. 

While little research has been conducted into the remaining six protected characteristics it is notable that a bias against older employees seems to exist in the technology sector.  Unlike the other characteristics, age discrimination has been actively embraced by some employers.  The rationale being that young employees are more capable and energetic

Global interest in gender diversity has been sparked by influential women such as Sheryl Sanberg (Facebook's COO), Marissa Meyer (Former CEO of Yahoo!), and Ella Pao who in 2012 drew light to what she felt was gender discrimination at the storied venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Claufields & Byers.  Ms. Pao has written a book, Reset, which has been short-listed for the FT & McKinsey Book of the Year 2017 award which once it launches in September will be sure to draw further attention to this issue. 

This highlights the fact that while women may be underrepresented in technology companies, many have made it to the executive level and broken many barriers along the way.  Ginni Rometty (CEO of IBM) became the first women to become a member of the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Master's Golf Tournament, when she became CEO of IBM.  As a long-time sponsor of the game there was a historic tradition that the CEO would be invited as a member.  Despite initial pushback, the club finally acceded under the spotlight of the public. 

Unfortunately, there are fewer similar champions for other protected characteristics.  Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) is openly gay, but there is not a single gay CEO of a FTSE 100 company (John browne notably resigned as CEO of BP after being identified publically as gay.)  Interestingly, IBM seems to have done a good job of promoting LGBT talent in the UK.  Having both senior LGBT staff, and a female CEO, may make this company an interesting candidate for further study. 

Ethnic diversity is something which companies such as Google seem ready to talk about and include statistics.  Despite performing worse for ethnic diversity than the population as a whole, it is interesting that this is along with gender the only data point which they provide statistics.  It's clear that they believe these problems can be fixed and are the direct result of the candidate pool from which they hire rather than their own bias.  It is possible that other protected characteristics are not discussed because they expose a bias.  Given the brand image many technology companies have built, any systematic bias could inflict significant damage to the brand. 

Music Industry (2017). Zaid Al-Zaidy: The diversity prize is a great one but are you ready for it? [online] Available at: (2017). NEWS: Creative industries add £87.4bn to UK economy. [online] Available at:£874bn-to-uk-economy

Anon, (2017). [online] Available at: (2017). Regulating ageism in UK advertising: an industry perspective | Marketing Intelligence & Planning | Vol 21, No 4. [online] Available at:


. + 2011 UK Census 


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