Advanced Television

Survey: Financial vulnerability among film & TV workers

January 30, 2024

More than 2,000 behind the scenes workers in the UK have responded to the Film and TV Charity’s latest financial survey, with the results published in its report, Money Matters: Examining the Financial Circumstances of the Film, TV, and Cinema Industry Workforce.

The report draws attention to worrying levels of financial vulnerability among workers ill-equipped to weather financial storms caused by the factors such as the cost-of-living crisis, a continuing downturn in UK production, and the effect of the Hollywood strikes on UK workers.

Conducted during October and November last year, the results of the survey show that:

  • Nearly half (45 per cent) of respondents were finding it difficult to manage financially
  • Freelancers, film workers, those with a disability or a long-term health condition, and carers with adult dependents finding it particularly difficult
  • 42 per cent had less that £1,000 in savings, with over 80 per cent seeing savings decrease and 29 per cent in the perilous position of having low cash savings and high levels of debt
  • 40 per cent felt they wouldn’t be able to make ends meet for any more than a month if they lost their income, with more than a third running out of money before the end of the week or month most of the time over the last 12 months
  • More than 80 per cent had been affected by the recent production downturn, with more than a quarter having work cancelled due to the Hollywood strikes
  • 71 per cent were pessimistic or very pessimistic about their financial future

The report follows up on a snapshot survey conducted by the Charity in the spring and summer of 2023 where the organisation saw an 800 per cent rise in applications for its Stop-Gap Grant from workers experiencing urgent financial need.

Marcus Ryder, CEO at the Film and TV Charity, said: “The Money Matters report is a sobering read and it’s critical that the survey results it highlights form the basis for urgent discussion about the welfare of the film and TV workforce, retention of talent, and the future health of the industry as a whole.”

“Currently, behind the scenes workers are asked to navigate an industry prone to boom and bust cycles, to deal with structural shifts and respond and pivot to meet the needs of changing business models. In too many cases, they’re asked to do so without any of the safety nets afforded to other workers, despite being at the heart of a multi-billion pound pillar of the UK economy. At the same time, we ponder why people are leaving the workforce and why we struggle to attract and retain talent from marginalised or under-represented groups.”

“Our Looking Glass research prompted an industry-wide response and a common impetus to improve the shocking levels of poor mental health in the industry, with our partners and stakeholders recognising the need for systemic change in how we look after workers.”

“The Film and TV Charity advocates for better mental health, financial wellbeing, and for equity and inclusion but, the thing is, we won’t achieve any one of those without addressing the others. So, its inherent that we have the difficult conversations, address the business models and identify the policies needed so that we can collectively make a real difference to a workforce currently struggling to find any optimism in its financial future.”

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