Apr 18, 2018

A new report found there is a significant lack of working-class people employed by arts industries in Britain.

The relatively unsurprising finding comes from Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries, a study released Monday by the U.K. nonprofits Create London and Arts Emergency. Using a 2015 survey and 237 follow-up interviews with people employed in the arts, researchers found that only 18.2% of those working in music, and the performing and visual arts in Britain come from a working-class background. And only 12.4% and 12.6% of people working in film and publishing, respectively, have working class origins. These numbers fall short compared to the U.K. population. “Aside from Crafts, no creative occupation comes close to having a third of its workforce from working class origins, which is the average for the population as a whole,” the report said. The study cited a few key reasons for the major lack in class diversity: unpaid internships create a financial barrier for young people, employers tend to “culture match” during the hiring process, and the pay gap between men and women prevents retention and growth. The study also looked at the employment statistics of working class people from black and minority ethnic communities (BAME) specifically, finding they comprise a mere 2.7% of workers employed in museums, galleries, and libraries, and only 4.2% of those working in film, TV, video, radio, and photography. The report failed to examine the lack of working class people from other minority groups in the arts, with the authors writing that, “the team are not experts in the field of disability or sexuality and LGBTQI studies, meaning those two axes of inequality are not the focus of the project.”