Radio industry lagging behind on ethnic diversity

13 Jun 2018  |  Scarlett O'Donoghue 
Radio industry lagging behind on ethnic diversity

New data from Ofcom has this week revealed for the first time the scale of the diversity challenge within the UK radio industry.

Ofcom's report, Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Radio, surveyed nearly 9,000 employees across 16 companies and focuses on three of the main radio broadcasters: the BBC, Bauer and Global.

The study reveals that ethnic minority groups represent only 6% of the radio workforce, falling below the UK population average of 14%, with the BBC reporting the highest rate of the three broadcasters at 8%.

According to the report, there is no representation by anyone from an ethnic minority background at board level, and the role within the industry with the lowest representation of ethnic minorities is sales at just 3%.

Meanwhile, the radio industry's female workforce is in line with the UK population at 51%, with Global recording the highest proportion at 57%, followed by Bauer at 54% and the BBC with 49%.

However, the figures also show that only 37% of women occupy senior management roles within the industry, whilst male employees account for 62% of senior management and 81% of board level roles.

Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: "Our radio industry must reflect the breadth of modern society and offer listeners engaging shows that speak directly to their lives and experiences. And to do this effectively broadcasters must take further action to attract a wider range of talent, both on and off air."

As too many broadcasters are failing to address the diversity issue within the radio industry, companies are increasingly expected to regularly measure and monitor the make-up of their workforce, and chief executives are accountable for setting and delivering diversity targets.

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