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UK music biz now majority women, report finds

UK Music has published the results of its 2022 Workforce Diversity Survey, which reveal an increase in the number of women in the business and a decrease in ethnically diverse communities.

A total of 2,980 people from the music industry’s workforce (not creators) responded to the trade body’s survey, which was conducted in summer 2022.

It found that more than half (52.9%) of individuals working in the UK music industry in 2022 identified as a woman, up from 49.6% in 2020. However, the findings do show that women start to leave the industry in their mid-forties.

In addition, the survey reveals that parents and carers are underrepresented in the music industry (29.7% compared to 44% of UK working population). Of the 68% respondents with no care responsibilities, the majority are female, pointing to a loss of female talent when they become mothers or carers.

There has also been a loss of ethnically diverse communities compared to the 2020 survey results. Just over one-fifth (21.04%) of individuals working in music identify as Black, Asian or from an ethnically diverse background. This is down from 22.3% two years ago.

Just over one-fifth (21.04%) of individuals working in music identify as Black, Asian or from an ethnically diverse background

Meanwhile, just over 14% of the industry reported a disability, up from 12.2% in 2020. According to UK Music, this statistic could indicate that more individuals with a condition are working within the industry or that a greater number of individuals are comfortable disclosing their condition.

For the first time, UK Music has used the survey to collect data relating to women or menstruating persons experiencing the menopause and the impact this could be having on their career.

More than one in ten (11.2%) respondents said they have experienced menopause/perimenopause. Almost half (47.5%) have had their work affected by its symptoms, yet three-quarters of these individuals (76.6%) have not taken time off work to manage their symptoms.

In addition to publishing the 2022 survey results, the UK Music Diversity report also sets out a new music industry action plan, dubbed The Five Ps, to accelerate positive change by boosting diversity and inclusion in music businesses.

“We must not take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to driving positive changes”

The plan focuses on people, policy, partnerships, purchase and progress and outlines suggested policies drawn both from UK Music’s survey findings and the lived experiences of those from diverse communities via a series of round-table events.

The 15 recommendations in the plan include: cultivating a transparent, safe and consciously inclusive culture for all staff; increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups; working towards a five-year EDI strategy and vision; incorporating EDI into every part of an organisation or businesses structures; publishing data on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps annually in larger employers; and ensuring there is a strong EDI mindset at the heart of all tendering and procurement processes.

“Our 2022 survey shows how those from Black, Asian and other diverse communities have been hardest hit by the impact of Covid-19,” says UK Music Diversity Taskforce chair Ammo Talwar MBE.

“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.

“We need to create a consciously inclusive culture right across the music industry and right across the UK. Our hope is that the Five Ps – our Music Industry Action Plan – provides a robust and clear framework that anyone can use to help deliver that change.”

Read the full report here.


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