Making It Possible survey
Voices of Parents & Carers in the UK Film and TV Industry
In 2015 Raising Films started a conversation about the challenges faced by parents and carers working in film and television. Now, we’re proud to present what we’ve learned with the results of our survey — the first nationwide look into the impact of caring on career development across the industry.
This survey reveals very clear barriers for parents and carers who work within film and TV, which do not only affect women, but continue to affect them disproportionately.
79% of respondents reported their career felt a negative impact from their parenting and caring responsibilities
75% say financial or in-kind assistance is somewhat or absolutely crucial to their ability to perform/develop their role in the industry
63% of respondents work freelance or are self-employed, and financial uncertainty is a major concern
86% of women who responded earn less than £50k from film & TV industry, with
28% earning less than 10k a year
68% of respondents find accessing flexible childcare difficult, and the cost is also a significant issue
This survey reveals very clear barriers for parents and carers who work within film and TV, which do not only affect women, but continue to affect them disproportionately. 640 respondents participated, with over half living outside Greater London, across the UK. 72% of both male (21%) and female (78%) respondents are or have been parents or carers, of whom 11% are sole parents or carers.
63% of respondents are freelance or self-employed in roles across the industry from crew to exhibition: this is indicative of the nature of the industry, but also a response to its demands. Many describe being limited in the work available, as the industry relies on long hours, often at short-notice; others needed to change roles entirely.
The frustration was palpable – from active discrimination to the difficulty (or impossibility) of trying to juggle caring roles with a TV/film career, resulting in limited participation. 79 percent of respondents reported their career felt a negative impact from their parenting and caring responsibilities.
Financial uncertainty and the economic impact of family life are a major concern, particularly for freelancers, as childcare is expensive and pay can be low. Tax relief is thus high on the agenda for carers, as is flexible childcare that can fulfill often ad hoc or last minute needs. Legislation for gender equality and for fair hours would also be welcome.
There is a strong desire for cultural change within the industry to support these structural changes towards a more equal workplace, in order for parents and carers to have genuine and fair access. Changes such as the reduction of anti-social hours are seen as being beneficial for all – including audiences, who will reap the benefit of a more diverse creative cohort working in film and television.
“This year has seen the publication of three key reports on the shocking lack of gender equality in our industry, from Directors UK, the European Women’s Audiovisual Network, and the University of Southampton.
“There is no doubt that, in an increasingly casualised industry, having children is a career killer for women much more than for men. This timely report drills down into the practical problems faced by women and provides some excellent recommendations for the way ahead. This is essential reading for everyone interested in maximising the talent pool in our creative industries.”
“This report raises some of the key issues that parents and particularly women face when working in the Screen Sector. The report chimes with much of what was revealed within our own recent equalities, diversity and inclusion survey. Creative Scotland recognise the significant barriers faced by parental and carer responsibilities and are working with the wider Sector to address these. The Screen EDI Review will be published in the autumn and will include Raising Films’ work and sector-wide recommendations for next steps.”