TV and radio employing fewer women, Ofcom report finds

The number of women employed in broadcasting has fallen for the second time in as many years, according to new research by Ofcom published today.

The media regulator said there was “little evidence” that broadcasters were actively trying to recruit a more diverse workforce – but added that it was reassuring to see the number of minority ethnic and disabled people in the industry gradually increasing.

The Ofcom report, based on data submitted by 138 TV and radio broadcasters at the end of 2007, found that women made up 44.9 per cent of the 72,000 people employed in the industry last year – down from 45.6 per cent in 2005.

Women represented 31.8 per cent of the staff employed at senior management levels, down from 32.2 per cent in the same period.

The percentage of broadcasters from ethnic minority backgrounds was up from 8.8 per cent in 2005 to 9.3 per cent last year. Disabled people as a percentage of the industry workforce also rose – from 1.7 per cent in 2005 to 2 per cent in 2007.

Ofcom said in its report that it had found that “surprisingly few” companies provided an induction programme to new recruits – and said smaller media companies were the least likely to actively promote diversity.

“There was little evidence of broadcasters actively seeking to ensure that applicants included people from diverse backgrounds,” the regulator found.

“As might be expected, the better-resourced broadcasters, in particular public service broadcasers, appear to be underaking a wide range of measures to promote equal opportunities.

“At the other end of the spectrum, many smaller broadcasters appear to have few formal processes in place.”

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