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Survey finds media industry dominated by young childless graduates

The majority of people working in television, radio and interactive media in the UK are graduates, most are under 35 and few have dependents.
Skillset’s Workforce Survey has found that 66% of the audio visual workforce are qualified to degree level compared to 16% of the UK workforce as a whole; 62% are aged under 35 with just 8% aged over 50. 82% are based in England, nearly half (47%) in London; and only one in five has any dependents.
Overall representation of women (39%), ethnic minorities (6%) and disabled people (3%) remains low with only 28% of the workforce as a whole reporting entry to the industry via an advertisement. The majority secured their first job through less formal channels: a friend, relative or by direct contact with an employer.
Skillset’s Workforce Survey questioned nearly 2000 employees and freelancers working in the audiovisual industries over spring and summer 2003 and found that despite a highly qualified workforce, almost two thirds reported training needs. 90% who sought training reported barriers to receiving it including availability of information and cost of courses. 27% of freelancers cited possible loss of earnings compared with 8% of employees.
Clive Jones, Chief Executive of ITV News Group and Skillset Chair, said: “The results confirm that we have at our disposal one of the most qualified workforces in the UK. But ours is a business characterised by constant change. Those working in the media industries need to be continually developing their skills to keep up with those changes and keep us, as an industry, ahead of the game. The survey also highlights that the majority got their first step on the career ladder through nepotism and contacts. This has to change. Access to the industry for people from all walks of life must be improved or we risk alienating our diverse audiences. A better structure of career progression, for which skills and talent development is a key factor, will also help with retention levels which are flagged as a concern in the results.”
Workforce survey forms were distributed, via employers, among a targeted, representative sample of freelancers and employees. The results provide the most comprehensive profile ever produced of the skills base within the media and will shape the future training and development strategy of the audiovisual industries.

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