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Age and gender in UK film industry

Comments (3)

Summary

As the House of Commons debates the Pensions Bill and looks at the impact of the legislation within it to raise the pension age, Sargent-Disc looks at trends within the UK film industry to see whether it reflects an ageing workforce, particularly for women, for whom the proposed changes will have a more noticeable effect.

Tagged: Payroll, Statistics, Employee

UK Film Industry Age and Gender

An ageing workforce?

Amidst the current discussion in the UK around pensions, our ageing society, and the steep rise in retirement age for women, Sargent-Disc has undertaken an analysis of age and gender in the film industry. Looking at the whole UK film industry there has been a noticeable shift towards an older workforce, for both men and women. In particular:

 

  • Between 2009 and 2010 the proportion of the workforce in the 50-60 age  group increased by 23%
  • The share of jobs going to the over 60s age group went up by over 25% between 2009 and 2010

 

Age distribution film

 

Men in the film industry

Focusing on men in the industry we see that, between 2009-10 and 2010-11:

 

  • The proportion of men aged 50 - 60 increased by 20%
  • The proportion of men aged 60 and over increased by 30%

 

Age distribution men in film

 

Women in the film industry

Focusing on women in the industry we see that, between 2009 and 2010:

 

  • The proportion of women aged 40 - 50 increased by 20%
  • The proportion of women aged 50 - 60 increased by 42%

 

Age distribution women in film

 

Age and gender

 

Despite seeing a shift towards an older workforce, the highest proportion of jobs is still taken by the 30-40 age group. However, analysing the data by gender shows that the highest number of women in our sample is in the 20-30 age group, representing 39% of all women sampled. These figures reflect recent Skillset findings on the TV industry showing that the majority of women are 25 - 34, and the majority of men are 35 - 49, whereas across other industries the numbers of men and women of different ages are much more closely matched.


Our findings suggest that experiences are different between women and men, and that there is a difficulty in retaining a large number of women beyond their 30s. The nature of freelance work can be difficult for many people, particularly women and especially if they chose to have families. Returning to freelance work can be difficult post maternity leave, and this could be one of the reasons that the largest group of women in our sample are aged between 20 and 30.

 

Age and gender....  and pay

 

In our previous insight article "Age of Progression" we investigated the relationship between age and pay by department and produced an interactive chart. The results show that levels of pay across the industry are strongly correlated with increasing age up to the 40-50 age group. After 50, average salaries peak and for the over 60s they reduce slightly. This reduction may be due, in part, to high earners retiring early. However, it can also be explained by the large proportion of construction jobs in the over 50s age group making up over 36% of the total workforce as pay in the construction department peaks in the 50-60 age group.

In "Is it a Man's World?" we also found that women are under-represented in construction. Despite an age-related increase in the number of people working in the construction department, the number of women in construction aged 40 years and above is less than 1%. To visualise these results we produced an interactive chart showing average median pay by gender for the UK film industry between 2008 and 2010.

 

Conclusion

 

Our analysis points towards an increasingly aging workforce and suggests a strong positive correlation between age and pay for both men and women up to the age of 60. Over the age of 60, the median rate of pay for the industry is seen to reduce slightly. We have found that the proportion of women across all age groups in the UK film industry has increased between 2008 and 2011 with the largest increase in the 40-50 age group.


Our findings suggest that there is some difficulty retaining large numbers of women beyond their 30s, possibly as a result of leaving work to start families or because of the uncertain nature of the freelance world associated with the industry. The knock-on effect of leaving employment is that women are often more reliant on the state pensions they receive with a significant proportion, 40%, not having a private pension to fall back on.


Many women will be affected by the proposed increases to the state pension age and there is concern that, having planned for their financial futures, some women may have to make up a significant pension shortfall. As a result an older female workforce is forecast, particularly if changes to the pension age come into effect within the timescale proposed.

 

 

References

The Telegraph. (2011, June 20). How the state pension age is changing. Retrieved from The Telegraph: www.telegraph.co.uk

BAFTA. (2010, March 17). Women Working in Television Debate, Kate O'Connor presenting Skillset research. Retrieved from BAFTA http://www.bafta.org

Comments (3)




Dr Laurence Sargent said:

11 October 2011
"I agree that statistics can be misleading and they are often used for a specific narrative, however, the 42% increase quoted is for women aged between 50-60. This age group made up almost 10% of the women in our sample in 2010-2011 and so should be statistically relevant across the industry. Our previous insight 'Is it a Man's World?' showed that women were under represented, making up only 32% of the industry as a whole in 2010. We did not look at the performing roles in isolation but it might be interesting to look at this in the future."

Pauline Moran Equity Councillor said:

11 October 2011
"How misleading the statistics are - a 42% increase in women over 60 employed in the industry between 2009-2010 is 42% increase of an almost invisible percentage - it is practically non-existent! Writers complain that they are asked to replace their older female characters with younger ones to the detriment of the storyline - this affects older female performers and further reduces an already skewed jobs market. Many characters are not gender specific but in most cases will be played by men e.g. lawyers doctors news sellers etc. Most roles played by older men could conceivably be played by older women and responsible commissioners and producers should ensure that some of them are. The Equality Act is specific - equal opportunities are a statutory requirement and this must also apply to the creative industries. Equity is campaigning on behalf of its female membership for an equal right to work - and this is most important where public subsidy is involved - more equitable choices can be made without damaging creative freedom."

Jean Rogers Equity Vice President said:

30 September 2011
"Sadly the decrease in women working in the film industry after 40 is also reflected on-screen too where female performers' careers peter out after 40 unlike their male counterparts. Since the arts should hold a mirror up to nature it is unacceptable that 52% of the population are not portrayed. Women's roles should be more than for decoration or cheaper labour. Also this hiding away of the older female image does not help the self esteem and confidence of a larger ageing female workforce."