Number of BAME people in music industry has dropped since 2020, study finds

Report by UK Music finds that ethnic diversity is down at all levels, suggesting that the disproportionate effect of the pandemic could be a factor

The latest biennial UK Music report into industry diversity has found a decrease in the total number of employees from ethnically diverse communities at all levels.

Overall just over one fifth (21.04%) of individuals working in the music industry identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic – down from 22.3% two years ago – while in entry-level positions the number has fallen from 34.6% to 23.6%, and from 19.9% to 18.3% at a senior level.

The report suggests that employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by pandemic-related job cuts.

“Our 2022 survey shows how those from Black, Asian and other diverse communities have been hardest hit by the impact of Covid-19,” UK Music Diversity Taskforce chair Ammo Talwar said in a statement. “The drop in the percentage of employees in several sectors of the industry is further evidence of why we must not take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to driving positive changes on diversity and inclusion as swiftly as we can.”

As ethnic diversity in the music industry has regressed, participation from women and disabled people has grown. Just over half of individuals working in the industry in 2022 identified as a woman, compared to 49.6% in 2020. The number of women working in mid and senior level roles has also increased.

The number of music industry workers who reported a disability this year rose to 14.9%, compared to 12.2% in 2020, which may indicate that more individuals with disabilities have found work in music, or that a greater number now feel comfortable disclosing their condition.

However, two-thirds of those who reported having a disability said they felt they had to compromise their health for work.

In response to the findings, the UK Music diversity report has set out a new plan of action to accelerate change. The plan has identified five key areas for the sector to use as a framework to boost diversity and inclusion: people, policy, partnerships, purchase and progress.

Specifically, it recommends cultivating a transparent, safe and inclusive culture for music industry staff, increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups and publishing data on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps annually in larger companies.

The proposals expand on UK Music’s 10-point plan for increasing diversity in 2020.

“Boosting inclusion is mission-critical to the future success of our sector,” said Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music chief executive. “Whether it’s businesses and organisations who need the broadest range of talent to draw on, or individuals who want to forge a successful career in our industry regardless of their background, it’s in all our interests to make sure the music industry is genuinely open and accessible to all.”


Safi Bugel

The GuardianTramp

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