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New survey reveals boost to diversity among British music industry workforce – but leaders warn more must be done

UK Music today published the results of its 2018 Music Industry Workforce Diversity Survey. 


UK Music, the umbrella body representing the UK's commercial music industry, today revealed survey findings that show the changing face of Britain's world-leading music business.

The survey, which focused on sex and ethnicity, aims to track progress to boost diversity and inclusion in the music industry that contributes £4.5 billion a year to the UK economy.

Led by UK Music's Diversity Taskforce and its chair Keith Harris OBE, the survey collated data from across the music business including artists, songwriters, composers, musicians, studio producers, music managers, music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing companies and the live music sector.

Launched in 2016, it is the second time that findings of the survey have been published.  The results give a revealing insight into improvements in boosting diversity in the music industry and also show where more work is needed.

The key findings from almost 3,000 music industry workers who responded to the survey are:

  • BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) representation in the UK music industry was up from 15.6% in 2016 to 17.8% in 2018 
  • Proportion of women in the music industry rose from 45.3% in 2016 to 49.1% in 2018
  • BAME representation among young workers (aged 16 to 24) rose from 20.2% in 2016 to 25.9% in 2018 
  • Percentage of young women (aged 16 to 24) in the industry was up from 54.6% in 2016 to 65.3% in 2018 
  • BAME representation rose among interns and apprentices from 24.4% in 2016 to 35.2% in 2018 
  • BAME representation increased among senior managers from 11.4% in 2016 to 18.8% in 2018

    However, our survey did reveal there is a lower representation of females aged 35 and above compared to younger age groups. BAME representation among workers aged 45 to 65 increased from 10% to 11.4% of the workforce. But the figure is still below the 12.8% BAME total representation for the UK population as a whole.

  • The survey maps out several positive developments and ongoing challenges that UK Music will continue to track with future surveys in the years ahead. The surveys are carried out annually with the results published every two years.

    Keith Harris OBE
    Chairman of UK Music's Diversity Taskforce and former Motown general manager, said:
    "The survey remains an important tool in terms of making sure that some of the initiatives put in place across the industry are bearing fruit. Things are changing for the better. Progress has been slow but steady.  We are continuing to keep our focus on ethnicity and sex  as the most obvious indicators that things are changing, while remembering that diversity in the industry is about much more than that, with socio-economic background being among the important but often neglected areas which needs attention."

    Michael Dugher
    UK Music CEO,  said: 
    "Our industry is doing very well at the moment, but that doesn't mean that we can shy away from the more difficult challenges we face. British music is a world-leading success story and one that we as a country should be very proud of. But I want us to be equally proud of our diversity as an industry. Whilst we can welcome some very real and significant improvements, we still have much more work to do. Just imagine how much more successful our industry could be in the future, if we could only deepen the well from which we draw our talent?" 

     Jeremy Wright
    Culture Secretary, said: 
    "Everyone, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to build a successful career in the music industry.
    "Diversity makes good business sense and I hope the improvements we have seen will continue so we have the strongest, most vibrant and inclusive music industry possible."

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