As Sargent-Disc celebrates a quarter century of providing payroll services to the UK film industry, we undertake a statistical analysis, going back over the last three years, to look at the representation of the youngest and oldest across a range of production departments in the UK. We look at how the workforce is changing and where the best opportunities are for starting in the industry.
We begin by looking at the youngest members of the workforce to see where the best opportunities are to start in the UK film industry and to discover the impact they have in terms of career progression. Over the three years of our sample, the three departments with the highest number of 16 - 20 year old employees are construction, props and the production office. Over half of 16-20 year olds start their careers in the construction and props departments.
These departments have structured apprenticeship schemes or offer trainee positions particularly in technical and craft skills.
To help visualise this information we have created an interactive chart for fifteen production departments.
Between 2008 - 2011,the largest proportion of the 20 - 30 age group, over 22%, work in the production office with the majority still working as runners and assistants, but a wider range of roles are undertaken including; production secretary, assistant production co-ordinator, production co-ordinator, and producer's assistant. Those in the 20 - 30 age group are also finding work across a much wider range of departments and a variety of roles.
The construction and props departments appear to offer good long term employment prospects. Along with the transport department, they have the highest proportion of over 60s with a healthy 8% of the construction department in that age group.
By contrast, it is noticeable that after 30, far fewer people remain in the production office. In fact 59% of the production office is in the 20 - 30 age group and numbers then fall very quickly. It suggests that the production office is a good initial place to learn about production, before moving into other departments. Our analysis suggests a natural progression to the locations department where 50% of the department is 30 - 40 year olds, mainly working as location assistants and assistant location managers.
Today older generations expect to live and work longer than ever before. A recent Office of National Statistics report (1) showed that, because of a growing workforce, the number of people in work in the UK has increased, however, at the same time, unemployment has risen. This was found to be due in part to an ageing population, with 75% of jobs created in the year up to March 2011 going to the over 50s.
Looking at the UK film industry between 2008 and 2010, we also find a shift towards an older workforce. Between 2008 and 2009 the proportion of jobs going to the 40-50 age group increased by over 6%. Between 2009-10 the proportion of the workforce in the 50-60 age group increased by 23% and the share of jobs going to the over 60s age group went up by over 25%.
Our results also indicate that people are working longer, but do not answer the question whether this is out of choice or necessity? The only other age group to grow as a proportion of the workforce was the 16 to 20 age group, which may reflect an increased emphasis on vocational training and apprenticeships in the UK film industry.
So what are the best career prospects for young people? The youngest members of the workforce often enter the industry in unskilled and manual roles, in construction, props and in the production office. It seems that construction and props offer more stability, a 'job for life', yet with returns that are amongst the lowest for the over 60s. The production office remains very attractive to young people, to 'learn the ropes', and although few older people tend to work here, the financial rewards are significant. What would you chose?
1 Office of National Statistics. (2011). Labour market statistics, March 2011 Retrieved 06 05, 2011, from www.statistics.gov.uk