CAMRI Alumnus, Peter Block, publishes ‘Accessing databases in the UK broadcast industry: implications for improving the diversity of the workforce’

20 January 2021
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The Campaign for Broadcasting Equality (CBE) commissioned Dr Peter L. Block to develop a methodology which Ofcom might apply to addressing the matter of ‘Finding A Diverse Range of Off-screen Talent-challenges and solutions’. This work should present Ofcom an initial overview on the issues and some existing databases. Via desk research, it should indicate the extent to which the Talent Manager might be the holy grail, or just one holy grail and where it fits in the diverse database ecology. The impetus for this research has been prompted by the recommendation made in the Ofcom 2020 Report on diversity in the UK Broadcast Industry, where amongst other recommendations it is suggests: Development of a cross-industry database to help broadcasters and production companies find a diverse range of off-screen talent We are supporting broadcasters in their efforts to identify and/or develop a talent database which gives them all easier access to potential employees from disabled and minority ethnic groups. In considering this matter three general questions emerge:-First: where is the evidence that broadcasters and production companies cannot find a diverse range of off-screen talent? The reports, such as they are, appear anecdotal. Second: what is the role of Ofcom in supporting or facilitating this recommendation? Third: is this about market failure or a failure by the industry to make effective use of the existing tools and services being offered? Four specific research question were examined through desk research and raised in discussion with knowledgeable industry stakeholders:-1. Is this a good idea? 2. Will it help resolve the issue of the lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry? 3. Is there an underlying issue that goes beyond the lack of sources and that recruiters have a:-“a woeful ignorance of databases that already exist to help broadcasters and production companies find a diverse range of off-screen talent.”? 4. What might Ofcom do to enable ‘…them (broadcasters and production companies) all easier access to potential employees from disabled and minority ethnic groups’ Considering each question in turn: 1. Is this a good idea? In the first instance it must be asked why is this necessary? In conducting the analysis for this research, 20 plus websites (and counting-see list of sources accompanying this document extracted from research spreadsheet) that offer recruitment services and access to their databases for employer and employee were examined. They range from website aggregators such as TV watercooler, full-service agencies such as Production Base, social enterprise organisations such as Creative Access whose mission is to help under-represented communities get into the industry.

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