A new report on inclusion and diversity in the U.K. VFX, animation and post-production sectors has been published by UK Screen Alliance, in conjunction with Animation UK and Access VFX. Surveying more than 1,150 workers, this research showed that these industries have made strides in achieving inclusive workplaces — however, there is still room for improvement.
The report documents a significantly higher percentage of ethnic diversity in VFX, post and animation than the overall level of diversity in the wider film and TV industry. In VFX, people of color make up 19% of the workforce; for animation, BAME representation is 14%; and in post-production it is 18%. All three sectors exceed the 14% U.K. average percentage for people of color in the working-age population.
While these jobs (particularly in VFX) tend to be based in London, where the BAME population is 40%, recruitment for these sectors is global rather than local. The UK Screen survey showed that BAME representation was also 19% in the skilled international workforce.
Within the British-born workforce, UK Screen found that 48% of recruitment is from the nations and regions. By weighting this recruitment pattern by the percentage of U.K. BAME workers in the individual regions of the country, UK Screen estimates that the target for proportionate representation of people of color would be 16% to 19%, which is exceeded by VFX and only marginally missed by animation and post-production.
“There’s a skills shortage and therefore a strong commercial imperative to discover latent talent from all communities,” remarked Neil Hatton, UK Screen Alliance CEO. “Inclusion in post, VFX and animation, where longer and more permanent employment models are common, will have a very different dynamic to those parts of our industry that crew-up for short-term projects with freelancers through informal networks. The recruitment focus in VFX, post and animation is firmly on skill and potential. It is quite rightly not about ‘who you know’ as the gateway to getting a job.”
Despite these encouraging numbers, the survey also showed that people of color are not as well represented in Creative Artist jobs and occupy only 8% of senior management roles. The report also shows that the representation of women in VFX is below parity at 33%, but in animation it is 51%.
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12% of the report’s respondents identified as having at least one physical disability, mental or neurological condition, the most common being dyslexia (6.5%). Industry supported inclusion initiatives like Access: VFX have had a positive effect, with 81% of people perceiving their workplace as highly or mostly inclusive; a view that is not just confined to the white male respondents. However, the organizers of Access:VFX recognize that there is still much to do.
“The 2019 UK Screen Inclusion Report is a ‘breath of fresh air’ for both for our industry and for the work we’re doing as Access: VFX, in that it reports genuine inclusion data from the front-line of visual effects, animation and post production. The honesty from all the respondents has been overwhelming, and we now have a true working document and dataset that provides an exciting opportunity for recruitment campaigns and better targeting for our talent outreach work,” said Simon Devereux, Chair of Access: VFX. “The report has presented some expected inclusion challenges that both confirms and supports the continued work of Access: VFX, along with some positive surprises that we can build on. We look forward to the results of the next survey so we can accurately measure our work and impact on industry diversity.”
Tom Box, Managing Director of BlueZoo animation studio and Access: VFX board member, added, “Access: VFX is all about ‘getting stuff done’ but we didn’t have any way to define what ‘done’ means, or measure our progress towards that goal. This report provides the agenda and then guides us towards solving workforce inequality.”