UK TV & Radio Hits Nations & Regions Milestone But Lack Of Diversity At Senior Level Remains Problematic, Says Ofcom Report

UK TV & Radio Hits Nations & Regions Milestone But Lack Of Diversity At Senior Level Remains Problematic, Says Ofcom Report

UK TV and radio has hit a major milestone with half of workers now based outside of London, but a lack of diversity in the upper echelons remains an issue, according to Ofcom’s latest diversity report.

The regulator’s seventh Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in TV and Radio report found that 44% of those who work in TV are now based beyond the capital along with 54% in radio, equating to just more than half for the first time.

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“This data indicates how diverse the broadcasting workforce is in different areas compared to the wider working population in the relevant nation or region,” Ofcom added, having examined the year to March 2023.

The nations and regions has been a major focus for broadcasters in recent years and the BBC has relocated hundreds from London to other parts of the UK as part of its Across the UK plan, while Channel 4 opened in Leeds and Glasgow. Many productions have also been moved from the capital. “While there’s a great deal more to do, we’re excited about our progress and remain utterly committed to working with our industry partners to keep moving forwards to create further positive change,” said Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon.

While Ofcom’s research spotlighted this improvement, it said more needs to be done to improve diversity at senior level when examining the make-up of the TV and radio workforce as a whole.

While women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds are well represented in broadcasting as a whole, Ofcom said they remain underrepresented at senior management level: in TV 42% and in radio 36% of senior managers are women, while in TV 13% and in radio 7% are from minority ethnic backgrounds, below the working population averages of 48% and 14% respectively. Disabled people also remain substantially underrepresented at all levels.

“Our new data set shows that many broadcasters have EDI leadership policies in place, but it also indicates there can be a disconnect between these policies and active senior buy in,” said Ofcom.

Sounded like something of a broken record, the regulator urged broadcasters to improve retention and keep women and people from diverse backgrounds interested in remaining in the industry, which has been a focus for many years. Ofcom said it will continue to examine how to tackle the issues at senior leader level.

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