A new report has found that the UK creative sector is riddled with inequalities. Create London interviewed almost 3,000 people as part of its Panic! survey and found that disparities exist across gender, ethnicity and class.
The study’s headline finding is that, in spite of evidence to the contrary, 30% of creative workers believe the sector is mostly meritocratic. Further, the higher your wage the more likely you are to believe in meritocracy.
The report states: “These respondents, who are in the most influential positions in the creative industries, believe most strongly in meritocracy. They are also most sceptical of the impact of social factors, such as gender, class or ethnicity, on explanations for success in the sector.”
Drawing on existing data collected by the Office for National Statistics, Panic! states that those from working class backgrounds are underrepresented in the arts. Whereas 30% of the total UK population come from such a background, that translates to just 12.4% of film, TV and radio workers; 18.2% of music, performing and visual artists; and 12.6% of those in publishing.
Similar inequalities were also found for gender and ethnicity, with white men overrepresented in almost every category.
“The reality of who is in the workforce does not match the meritocratic hopes of a high proportion of our Panic! respondents,” reads the report’s conclusion. “It also doesn’t match the ideals of policy makers and arts organisations, for a more open and diverse cultural sector … however, the reasons for, and consequences of, this inequality are complex.”