Directors UK has called for more career development initiatives for under-represented directors as their latest report reveals the negligible progress made in the employment and representation of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) directors in UK television.
The report, Adjusting the Colour Balance: Black, Asian and minority ethnic representation among screen directors working in UK Television, analyses the proportion of TV programmes made by BAME directors across the UK’s four main television channels (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) between 2013 and 2016. It highlighted that:
The report also reveals year on year fluctuations across genres, suggesting an inconsistent approach to achieving change. The findings highlight the lack of progress made in the employment and representation of BAME directors, despite the diversity and inclusion strategies introduced by broadcasters and producers over the years.
The figures also indicate that positive interventions, initiatives and schemes do positively boost diversity, but, these need to be made available across all genres in order to generate systematic change across programme making.
In response, Directors UK has set out a number of recommendations to close the diversity gap. These include:
Directors UK Board member Ashok Prasad said: “I am disappointed at these new results and at the lack of progress since the last report three years ago. I am concerned that there is a very low proportion of BAME directors employed by broadcasters and production companies, indicating a separation between the people who make our TV programmes and the audiences who watch them. Broadcasters and production companies need to dedicate more time, money and effort to ensure that a significant shift is made to diversify the pool of directors working in the UK to properly reflect the makeup of our society.”
Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns added: “Although disappointing overall we are glad to see signs of improvement for BAME directors in some genres. What this shows is that deliberate and collaborative interventions in partnership with broadcasters and production companies make a difference to diversity and must become more widely available. The industry can no longer pay lip-service to diversity initiatives. More needs to be done across all genres to ensure that directors from under-represented groups have access to opportunities and career development.