Following the publication of the UK Music Workforce Diversity survey results, CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin reflects on the findings and sets out the mission to create an industry that is open and accessible to all…
At UK Music, we believe it is fundamental that everyone should have the opportunity to forge a successful career in our industry, regardless of their background. That is why diversity and inclusion are such a key priority for us.
Spearheaded by our pioneering Diversity Taskforce, UK Music has put this at the heart of what we do, collecting data on diversity biennially since 2016 to identify the emerging trends and work out where we need to do better.
This year, we have gone deeper than ever before, not just trying to gather as rich a dataset as we can, but also digging below the surface to try and understand the disparities we often see across the industry. Because it’s not good enough to simply observe a disparity – we want to understand why it exists in the first place and work out what we need to do to address it.
The findings revealed in our Diversity Report 2022 have been incredibly revealing. For instance, take the statistics around ethnicity. Like many other sectors, the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on those from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities.
However, when we dig into the data and look at the longer-term trends around career progression, it becomes clear that the biggest challenge when it comes to Black, Asian and ethnically diverse representation isn’t simply one of attracting ethnic minorities into our industry – it’s in keeping them and making sure they can progress.
Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities are better represented in younger age brackets and lower career levels when compared to their overall representation, but under-represented among older ones.
This means there needs to be as much focus on talent development and retention across the sector as there is on recruitment. It’s therefore essential that we ensure workplaces are inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds, and that we continue to stamp out racism and discrimination wherever we find it.
Meanwhile, women are increasingly leaving the industry in their mid-forties. There could be a several reasons behind this – and one of the factors that we don’t talk about nearly enough is the impact of the menopause.
So, for the first time, UK Music has collected data on women’s experience of the menopause and the impact it has on their work. The reasons are disturbing, and raise difficult questions for us all, especially employers. While almost half of women who have experienced the menopause have had their work affected by its symptoms, more than three quarters of these women have not taken time off work to manage their symptoms.
As a result, many women we spoke to have reduced their hours or moved to part-time work, while others have stepped back from senior roles or not taken a promotion offered. Some have even left their jobs or retired completely.
Most shockingly, only 7% of women who have taken time off work because of the menopause have told their employer the reason. Of course, no one should ever feel pressured to disclose, but it is worrying that we have a workplace culture where 93% of women experiencing the menopause do not feel comfortable or confident enough to tell their employer.
If you break a leg and need to take time off work, you would tell your employer why and hope that they would make reasonable adjustments to support you – the same should be true of any condition that is significantly impacting you at work.
It’s essential that we ensure workplaces are inclusive, and that we continue to stamp out racism and discrimination
This theme of unwillingness to disclose is also starkly evident when it comes to disability. More than one in 7 of those working in the industry have a disability, and for 90% of those people that disability is not visible.
However, half of all those people with a non-visible disability don’t tell their employer about it. Like the findings around the menopause, this speaks to a worrying culture on non-disclosure.
Again, no one should ever feel compelled or pressured to reveal personal health details – but we should aspire to an industry-wide culture where everyone feels comfortable and secure to have these conversations with their employers.
This is made even more important when you consider one of the starkest findings from today’s report: that two-thirds of those who have a disability feel they have to compromise their health for work. Any responsible employer should be horrified that any of their employees are compromising their health and wellbeing to do their job. That a third of all employees say this is the case, and two thirds of all disabled people, is unacceptable.
As our report shows, there is more we can all do. It’s fashionable to talk about “bottom-up” solutions rather than “top down” ones. But when it comes to inclusion, this has to be led from the top – by employers and by leaders of organisations across the sector. It's critically important we all do what we can to cultivate a positive and open working environment and create a genuinely inclusive environment where people from all backgrounds can succeed.
To this end, we have sought to build on the success of our ground-breaking Ten Point Plan by developing a toolkit that can be applied across the industry, by organisations both large and small who want to drive meaningful change.
The Five Ps: The Music Industry’s Action Plan sets out how we can take action to boost inclusion across a range of areas: from the people we employ and support, to the internal policies we implement, the partnerships we build, the purchase processes we rely on, and ultimately to the progress we drive, track and share.
Boosting inclusion is mission critical to the future success of our sector. Whether it’s businesses and organisations who need the broadest range of talent to draw on, or individuals who want to forge a successful career in our industry regardless of their background, it’s in all our interests to make sure the music industry is genuinely open and accessible to all.
We still have a way to go, but UK Music is committed to achieving this – and this report sets out the path.
Read the full UK Music Diversity Report here.