Jun 19, 2024 2 min read

“Significant improvements” in UK music industry diversity, report shows

Since 2022, the UK music industry has seen “significant improvements” in the diversity of its workforce, UK Music’s latest research shows. However, there is still more to be done, and the trade body is now calling on political parties to pledge support ahead of next month’s General Election

“Significant improvements” in UK music industry diversity, report shows

There have been “significant improvements” in the diversity of the UK music industry over the last two years, according to cross sector trade group UK Music as it publishes the results of its latest Workforce Diversity Survey. However, there remain areas where more progress is needed, and the organisation has outlined support it would like to receive from the next government when it is formed next month. 

The biggest increases in workforce diversity came in the number of women working at a senior level, as well as Black, Asian and ethnically diverse respondents in the youngest demographic and at entry level. 

“We have seen steady progress on increasing diversity across the music industry since we launched this survey in 2016, with further significant improvements year on year”, says UK Music Diversity Taskforce Chair Ammo Talwar. “That’s down to some of the brilliant initiatives in the sector that are driving change and those organisations that have led the way with integrity and transparency”.

“However, there is still loads more to do”, he adds. “We need the next government to be fast and fearless when it comes to working with us to tear down the remaining barriers. The socio-economic data is especially concerning, with figures for those working in the music industry whose parents came from a professional background above the national average. We need to do more to ensure that we’re getting talent from every walk of life”.

The social economic figures show that 56.1% of respondents come from professional backgrounds, with 20.9% coming from working class backgrounds. 

Compared to the previous survey in 2022, the research saw a very slight increase in the total number of respondents who identify as women. However, the number working at senior level rose to 48.3%, from 45.1% in 2022 and 40.4% in 2020. Women still remain more highly represented at mid-level (52.4%) and entry level (61.5%).

In terms of ethnicity, the number of Black, Asian and ethnically diverse respondents aged 16-24 rose from 23.2% in 2022 to 40.6% in 2024. Meanwhile, representation at entry level was up from 23.6% in 2022 to 32.5% in 2024. There was also a less significant rise at senior level, from 18.2% to 22.1%.

The report concludes with a call for the incoming British government to support the UK music industry’s diversity requests, as laid out in UK Music’s recently published Manifesto For Music. 

This includes extending the limitation period for discrimination or harassment claims under the Equality Act, mandating the reporting of ethnicity and disability pay gap data, and commissioning an independent review into how the Metropolitan Police and local authorities react and respond to Black music events.

“UK Music, our Diversity Taskforce and our members have all worked for years to nurture our sector’s reputation for making diversity and inclusion a top priority”, says UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl. “We established our Ten Point Plan, and then built on that with The 5Ps - a framework that mapped out five key areas the industry could use focus on to deliver enduring results for diversity and inclusion – people, policy, partnerships, purchase and progress”. 

“We are now asking all the political parties, stakeholders and the industry to get behind the priorities outlined in our Manifesto For Music and look forward to working with the government and new Parliament to deliver this”, he concludes.

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